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:
- 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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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 united states 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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "chambers" (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 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Journal & Associate Chambers" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2011 22:19:59 +0800
Subject: Journal & Associate Chambers
From The Desk Of Barrister Jay Squarte
Journal & Associate Chambers
37 Sathorn Tai Road,
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 Jay Squarte, a Solicitor. I am the Personal Attorney to Mr. Steve Anderson, who used to work with Siamrak Company Limited. On the 21st of April 2003, his wife and their three children were involved in a car accident along Sukhumvit Express Road.
Unfortunately, they all lost their lives in the event of the accident. Since then I have made several enquiries to your Embassy to locate any of my client's relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives over the Internet to locate any member of his family but to no avail, hence, I contacted you to assist in repatriating the money left behind by my client in a Finance Company, Particularly, the Finance House where the deceased deposited the US$35 Million (Thirty five Million United States Dollars only).
Consequently, this Finance House issued me a notice to provide the Next of Kin to claim the US$35 Million (Thirty five Million United States Dollars only) in their custody within the next ten official working days. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 4 years now, 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 transferred to your account 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 of the fund into your account. Note that the transaction requires financial assist to enables us process the beneficiary approval order in your name legally with all the legal right and documents under my power as the personal attorney to the deceased family. all process and achievement must be legally secured. I have all the necessary legal documents that can back our claim at the Finance House.
All I require is your honest co-operation and financial assist to enable us seeing this deal through. I guarantee you that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
You are needed as a next of kin to inherit your brother left fund, be rest assured.
If you are willing and ready to execute this mutual deal kindly feel free and contact me through the above information with your contact details.
Best Regards .
Barrister Jay Squarte (Esq.).