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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- "my direct telephone number" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "@lawyer.com" (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: " George Gordillo Garrigues Chambers" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2011 11:32:56 +0100
Subject: GOOD DAY
Tel.34 672 988 039
Firstly, please accept my apology for sending you this sensitive information via mail with out meeting you in person. This is due to the urgency and importance of the matter at hand. The development am about to unfold will be based on Trust, confidentiality and sincerity of purpose in order to have an acceptable meeting of the minds. I am fifty two (52) years old established lawyer. My name is Barrister. George Gordillo Garrigues Esq., a legal representative and personal Attorney to an expatriate and a contractor with an Independent Petroleum, Exploration & Production Oil Company - PERENCO (Now deceased) He died in the Tsunami disaster on 26th December 2004 while on vacation in Indonesia.
Seven years ago, My Client successfully executed a contract for the Spanish government worth US$16.5 million dollars. A part payment of USD8.million dollars was paid to my client, while the balance of USD8.5 million Dollars was still unpaid before my client died in the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster. However, all my efforts to locate his next of kin proved abortive after his demise, He was not married and was 44years old.
NOW THE CRUX OF THIS LETTER is that the government of Spain is fully paying all foreign contractors who have successfully executed their contracts and my client is among those to benefit in this first quarter payment schedule, which has already been deposited with his bank. As his personal Attorney/Adviser, his bank has officially notified and instructed me to forward particulars of my client's next of kin within the next 14 official working days so that he/she can be paid the outstanding USD8.5 Million dollars otherwise his fund will be diverted to the government coffers account as unclaimed bill.
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating any of his relatives, I decided to contact you for a deal so that we can work together as a team to remit the money to your account as my client next of kin since I do not want to seat and watch my client hard earned entitlement to go astray, it will be easy for us to achieve because you are of the same country like him. Although I know that a transaction of this magnitude might make anyone apprehensive but I would like to assure you that I am proposing this project to you with the best of intensions. As an Attorney, I have the power to secure all the necessary legal documents that will be used for this claim.
All I require from you is your honest co-operation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that this transaction will be executed under a Legitimate banking arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law. Upon successful conclusion of this project, you will be compensated with 45% of the total fund, while 55% will be for me.
If you are interested to work with me in this deal, kindly reply strictly to my personnel Email: email@example.com and also give a call to my direct telephone number +34 672 988 039 Or FAX 34 917 693 096 as above or you can equally send a fax with your personal Telephone /fax number for effective communication and oral clarification on how to proceed next.
Barrister. George Gordillo Garrigues Esq