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:
- ",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.)
- "nigeria national petroleum corporation" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Barrister Williams Saraki Law Firm" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 21:58:13 +0100
Subject: Attention Beneficiary, do you know you are the next of kin to Late George W. Wilson?
Barrister Williams Saraki Law Firm
Plot 2186, Ibrahim Babangida Way, Zone 4,
Wuse District Abuja,
Complement of the day, I hope to meet you well and in good condition of life, my name is Barrister Williams Saraki, a Lawyer representing Late Mr. George W. Wilson. My purpose of contacting you is to inform you of an inheritance/payment he had left on your name, he was a contractor with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporations before his death and the said payment is a contract payment which was paid full after his death. Please note that this is now inheritance/payment totaling $10,500,000.00millionusd certified cheque now in your favor and it was deposited with me before the untimely death of my dear client due to the shock he had after the plane crash that took the life of his entire family in August 2009. My client has signed and left with me an attestation letter in your favor and I am to contact you after his departure as his now next of kin and beneficiary of the said payment but accidentally before reaching you personally one Mr. John Wheeler has come to me with a
claim that you are also dead and
Personal/Direct Phone number:
Send any copy of Identity: (driver's license, passport photograph or int'l passport)
Really I would have preferred that you come down to my office at the address above to take this payment but I'm considering the cost to fly down to Nigeria, the cost to lodge in a hotel and other miscellaneous expenses that are involved, so I am suggesting the cheque can be register with United Parcel Services, FedEx or by any other reputable delivery company to deliver the cheque to you which to send it is not more than $120.00usd instead of coming down. So if you wish to consider this idea/suggestion to register the check for delivery to you, you will only need to pay the delivery fee of the but if you still prefer to come down then let me know your flight schedule as soon as you are ready to come while I prepare myself to pick you at the airport.
I hope to hear very soon from you as this is urgent or should I assume you really have given the right of claim to Mr. John Wheeler if I did not hear from you? Call for any clarification.
Barr Williams Saraki.