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:
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Williams & Associates" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2012 10:01:40 -0600
Subject: From: Daniel Williams
From: Daniel Williams. (For Trustees)
Managing Partner(Williams Chambers)
Pretoria, South Africa
+ 27 72 981 8494
On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the estate of Late
Mr. Patrick Cole , I once again try to notify you as my earlier
letter was returned undelivered. I hereby attempt to reach you
again by this same email address on the WILL. I wish to notify
you that late Mr. Patrick Cole made you a beneficiary to his
WILL. He left the sum of Ten Million Five Hundred Thousand
Dollars (USD$ 10,500.000.00 ) to you in the codicil and last
testament to his will.
This may sound strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real
and true. Being a widely travelled man, he must have been in
contact with you in the past or simply you were nominated to
him by one of his numerous friends abroad who wished you good.
Mr. Patrick Cole until his death was a member of the Helicopter
Society and the Institute of Electronic & Electrical
Engineers. He was a very dedicated Man who loved to give out.
His great philanthropy earned him numerous awards during his
life time. Late Mr. Patrick Cole died on the 16th day of
February 2011 at the age of 90 years and his WILL is now ready
for execution. According to him this money is to support his
Goodwill activities (may his soul rest with the Lord) and to
help the poor and needy.
Please if I reach you as I am hopeful, endeavour to get back to
me as soon as possible to enable me conclude my job. I hope to
hear from you in no distant date.
Yours in His service,
Daniel Williams Esq.