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"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:

Fraud email example:

From: "Mr. Joseph L. Cook" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2011 11:59:05 -0700
Subject: Thank you for accommodating our Enquiry

Good day! Sir/Madam
Please pardon me as I am aware that this is not a conventional way of relaying such an important message such as this. I did try without success to locate either your contact address or fax number and as such, I resorted in contacting you via email.
My full name is Mr. Joseph L. Cook, I am a senior partner in the firm of Joseph & Cook LLP, London, United Kingdom, we are Private investigators, Security Consultants and Financial Managers and Fund Claims Counsel. We are conducting a standard process investigation/Recommendation on behalf of Bank of British West Africa Group (SCB), The African Investment Banking Conglomerate.
This investigation involves our client Mr. Earl and also the circumstances surrounding his investments made with {EARL GROUP ENTERPRISES} and {BANK of BRITISH WEST AFRICA GOLD ACCOUNT} the Investment Banking arm of SCB. The SCB Private Investment my client died intestate and nominated no successor in title over the investments made with the bank amounting to over {US$5.3 Million} (Five Million Three Hundred thousand Dollars only)
The essence of this communication with you is to request that you provide us information/comments on any or all of the four issues as regards nominating you to inherit the fund left behind by this client.
Your answers and response's to the questions raised below will determine our recommendation to the {BANK of BRITISH WEST AFRICA} towards legally appointing you to inherit this investment fund after certified investigation has yielded results showing that there is no known relation of the deceased client.
1. Are you aware of your relation born on the 2nd of February 1951, who bears your surname whose last known contact address was Accra Ghana, in Western Africa?
2. Are you aware of any investment of considerable value made by such a person at the Investment Banking Division of {BANK of BRITISH WEST AFRICA}?
3. Can you confirm your willingness to accept this inheritance if you are legally and legitimately appointed?
4. Would you agree to donate part of this inheritance to charity if you are officially approved to stand as the inheritor?
It is pertinent that you inform us ASAP whether or not you are familiar with this personality and your interest towards the issues mentioned.
You must appreciate that we are constrained from providing you with more detailed information at this point. We will provide you with additional information upon receipt of your response.
Thank you for accommodating our Enquiry.
Mr. Joseph L. Cook
Address: Houghton Street London
Tel: +44 7077-078-154
Fax: 44 7005-931-594
For: Joseph & Cook LLP
VAT No. 918579476
This e-mail is sent by a law firm and contains information that may be privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete the e-mail and notify us immediately.

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