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:
- "necessary legal documents" (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. )
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "million 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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Asoc. Bioquiicos Vera" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 09:49:05 -0200
Subject: Re: Your Mail,
Gaisie, Zwennes, Hughes & Co.
1st Floor, West Wing, Teachers Hall Annex
4 Barnes Close Off Barnes Road
I am Edmund Brita Gaisie Esq. A solicitor at law. I am the personal attorney to Mr. Michael, who used to work with Ghana Gold Mining Company. On the 21st of November 2007, my client, his wife and their three children were involved in a car accident along Accra express road. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost there lives.
Since then I have made several enquiries to his country's embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to track his last name over the Internet, to locate any member of his family as you have the same last name with him that is why contact you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where this huge deposits were lodged.
The Board of Directors of his Bank adopted a resolution and I was mandated to provide his next of kin for the payment of this money or forfeit the money to the Bank as an abandoned property.
Particularly, the Board of Directors of his Bank where the deceased had an account valued at about USD$11.7 Million Dollars has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or they have the account confiscated within next ten official working days. Since my unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2 years now I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you have the same last name with him.
The shareing of the money. You stand to have 40% and 50% for me and then 5% for Charity and another 5% to take care of all operational expenses that will be incurred by you and me . I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up the claim .All I require from you is honest and your cooperation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that these will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
I urgently hope to get your response as soon as possible. And you must send your contact information. You can get in touch with me by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to hear from you.
My kind regards to your family.
Edmund Brite Gaisie ESQ.