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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "a security company " (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. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "trunk box" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "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.Alfred" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2011 14:45:54 -0700
Subject: From Alfred Martines
From The Desk Of
Barrister Alfred Martines
Before I proceed, I must first apologize for this unsolicited mail to you. I am aware that this is certainly not a conventional way of approach to establish a relationship of trust, but you will realize the need for my action. My name is Alfred Martines .Actually, I got your contact information through the public records while searching for a next of kin to my late client an expatriate engineer who worked with the Mining and Smelting Company (Asturiana de Zinc S.A.) in Spain for thirteen years. He died along with his family during the Tsunami catastrophe, which occurred on Monday 27 December 2004.
Before his death, he deposited One Trunk Box/Diplomatic Personal Treasure, containing the sum of $8.752M (EIGHT MILLION AND SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY-TWO THOUSAND U.S. DOLLARS ONLY) with a security company here in Spain, but he did not disclosed the content of deposited diplomatic consignment to the security company, for security reasons. The security company has mandated me to present any family heir/inheritor for claim before the consignment gets confiscated or reverts to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, as an unclaimed diplomatic immunity. So I decided to search for any of my late client's relative which has been very difficult for me, as he did not declare any other person, address, partner or relatives in the official paper works of his diplomatic consignment deposit.
Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to late client so that the diplomatic consignment will be released to you. With my position as his lawyer, I will now place your name as t he next of kin to my late client. I will prepare every relevant document that will assist your claims, and facilitate the release of the consignment. Note that this transaction is 100% risk free. And I guarantee that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement without the breach of the law. Also, I have worked out all modalities to complete the transaction successfully. Once the diplomatic consignment is released to you, we shall share in the ratio of 50% for me, 50% for you as your benefit. Reply via my private email address at : firstname.lastname@example.org, for further clarification or you can leave a private number where
Please be kind to get back to me if you are not interested so that I can further my search for another partner.
Barrister Alfred Martines