fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barrister Tom Williams" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2010 19:43:37 +0100
Subject: Re: Ligitimate inquiry.
Attn : My Dear
I am Barr.Tom Williams an account operator to late (Mr.Micheal Herman) 52yrs old, a nationality of your country who unfortunately died on a car accident dated 7th August 2008 along Ibadan Express High Way. Since the death of (Mr.Micheal Herman), I as his account operator have made several inquiries to locate his relations to come up for the inheritance claim, without any success.
I came across your name and contact on the course of my personal searching for my late client relations/next of kin so I decided to contact you for this project. I am contacting you to assist in securing the wealth left behind in a fixed deposit account by my late client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where my late client operates an account. The board of Directors of the bank has issued me a notice that after 2 months from now and no relation shown up for the claiming of the said funds, the funds will be confiscated and declared unserviceable.
Since The board of Directors of the bank have been unsuccessful in locating my client relatives for sometime now, it's on this note that I seek your consent to present you as the relation/next of kin to my late client that the proceed of this deposit can be released into your account. The amount deposited $12.8 Million Dollars also i beleived with interest($12.800.000.00 USD) I will agree with you on 60% for you while 40% for me.
I guarantee that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement which will protect you from any breach of the law. Upon your response, furnish me with:
Your full name and address
Your telephone and fax numbers
Your occupation and age
As soon as I receive all these information from you I will present it to the bank Directors that I have locate the relation to my late client since they asked that I should provide the next of kin for them to release the inheritance fund.
Let me here from you once you acknowledge my email.: email@example.com
I'm at your service,
Barr.Tom Williams Esq.