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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- if you are interested, please contact me via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, i shall provide you with more (Lawyer; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barrister Giorgio Salvatore." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 07:35:29 -0500
My name is Barr. Giorgio Salvatore of Salvatore Studio Legale in Rome. I
actually got your contact email address through the worldwide email
database. My purpose of contacting you is for you to help secure the funds
left behind by my late client(Late Mr. Richard Lyman), to avoid it being
confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Bank where this fund valued
9,500,000.00 (Nine Million Five Hundred Thousand Euros) deposited by my
client before his death.
I wish to point out that I want 20% of this money to be shared among the
Charity Organizations, while the remaining 80% is shared equally between
us. If you are interested, please contact me via E-mail:
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, I shall
provide you with more details and relevant documents that will help you
understand this transaction vividly.
If on the contrary you wish to achieve this goal with me, kindly get back
to me with your interest for further explanations.
Barrister Giorgio Salvatore.