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)
- "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)
- "barrister" (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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barr. Smith Silver" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 01:10:08 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Dear Friend,
My name is Barrister Smith Silver. I am a Legal representative, an Attorney
and private account manager to my late client, Year 2008, my client
by name Mr. Marshal.......... Passed away, leaving behind a cash
inheritance of Ten million United States Dollars ($10, 000, 000, 00). My
late client and bosom friend grew up in a "Motherless Babies Home". He had
no family, no beneficiary nor next of kin to the inheritance amount left
behind at his Bank.
The Financial law of inheritance clearly allows for the deceased Bank to use
deceased money as deemed fit, should the inheritance money be left unclaimed
for a period of thirty six months after the death of the account owner.
The reason that you have been contacted now is because the bank asked me to bring somebody for his unclaimed wealth which he left behind
and I can present you as the beneficiary next
of kin to the bank. The Inheritance Law clearly leaves the on us of proof of who is or
not the kinship, to the deceased Lawyer to prove. As the deceased Lawyer,
the Law says l have the final say of who is the beneficiary of the deceased
As a lawyer I know this.
proposition and you are ready to keep this proposition in absolute
confidentiality and trust, then contact me at once, and we can work out the
details, and the issue of your compensation.
Reply to my private e-mail: email@example.com
SMITH SILVER (ESQ).
(SMITH SILVER CHAMBER)
20 Rue De Italie Lome, Centrale,
Lome - Togo