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:
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- "% will be for you" (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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "Martin Dunn" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2010 21:12:56 +0200
Subject: waiting for your response
Martin Dunn & Partners
International Lawyers & Tax Advisers
Avd De Frankie 10 Baja, 46011,
Tel:+34 672 946 557
Please kindly accept my apology for sending unsolicited mail to you I believe you are a highly respected personality considering the fact that I sourced your profile from a human resource profile database on your country. Though, I do not know to what extent you are familiar with events.
I am Barrister Martin Dunn, a Solicitor. I am the Personal Attorney to Mr. Steve Tolbert, A business magnate by name and Canadian national, who lived in Spain for Thirteen years; he died along with his family during the Tsunami catastrophe, which occurred December 2004.
Before the catastrophe; He deposited the sum of $10.8M (TEN MILLION, EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND US DOLLARS) with a finance Company here in Spain. As the attorney to the late client, the finance company has mandated me to present a member of his family (heir/inheritor) to make Claims or the deposit will be confiscated and taken to the Bureau of the finance as unclaimed.
I was given an ultimatum to look for some relative to come for the claim or have the fund liquidated and made unserviceable in accordance with existing laws. After preliminary efforts of search for a direct family member which came to no avail, hence, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased to claim the fund as the Next of Kin to him so that the fund will be released to you by the Finance House.
Upon receipt of the fund, I will come over to your country to meet with you for the disbursement of the fund and then you and I will share the money in this order: 50% will be for me, 40% will be for you, While 10% is for execution of the fund in case of any expenses you may encountered during the process.
With the modality I have in place I can guarantee that if you follow my instructions (The rule of laws) the fund will be released to us.
Mind you that this transaction is 100% risk free; there is no atom of risk connected to this business as I have worked out all modalities to complete the operation effectively. Once the deposited fund is released to you
All I require is your honest co-operation and trust. I guarantee you that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
Kindly indicate your response to my private email address,
email@example.com ; you can also call me on my telephone for further clarification. Please kindly get back to me if you are not willing to collaborate with me so that I can further my search for another partner.
Martin Dunn (Esq.)