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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447045730144 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barrister Thomas Thompson Esq" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 13:50:48 +0630
Subject: Your Inheritance
Greetings to you from the desk of Barrister Thomas Thompson Chambers.
I once again notify you as my earlier letter were returned undelivered
that late Engr. Jurgen Kruger made you a beneficiary to his WILL. He left
the sum of Thirty Million, One Hundred Thousand Dollars
USD$30,100.000.00 to you in the Codicil and last testament to his WILL.
Please if I reach you as I am hopeful, endeavor to get back to me as soon as
possible to enable me conclude my job. I hope to hear from you in no
Note: You are advise to contact me with my personal
I await your prompt response.
Yours in Service,
BARRISTER THOMAS THOMPSON ESQ.