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:
- "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. )
- "huge deposit" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "Barr. Mike Ego Esq" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 00:02:37 -0500
Subject: Appointed as the next of kin
Barr. Mike Ego Chambers
#16 Akintola William Str.Ikeja
Attn: My Dear,
I am a lawyer. I am the personal attorney to Late Mr. Kenneth, a
National of your Country. Who used to work as a contractor with Crystal
Construction Company Inc.,herein after shall be referred to as my client. On
the 21st of April 2009, my client, his wife and their three children were
involved in a car accident along Sagamu express road. All occupants of the
vehicle unfortunately lost their lives. Since then I have made several
enquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives and
this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts to
locate any member of his family, hence I contacted you. I am contacting you to
assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client before
they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where this huge
deposit were lodged. Particularly, the bank where the deceased had an account
valued above US$100,000,000.00 has issued me a notice to provide the next
of kin or have the account confiscated and the funds returned to
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over
two years now I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the
deceased since you have the same last name, so that the proceeds of this
account valued above US$100,000,000.00 can be paid to you and then you and I can
share the money, 60% to me and 40% to you. I have all the necessary legal
documents that can be used to back up any claim we may make. All I require is
your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that
this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from
any breach of the law. Please get in touch with me by my email or call me on
the above telephone and send to me your telephone and fax numbers to enable us discuss further about this transaction.
I await your urgent response and positive attention in this circumstance.
Barrister Mike Ego, LLB, LLM, BL,SAN
Attorney at Law