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:
- "high court" (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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
Date: 4 Mar 2012 11:05:00 +0000
Subject: CONTACT ME
We wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary to the total sum of US$25m Dollars in the intent of the deceased (name now withheld since this is our second letter to you). I have emailed you earlier without a response. In my first email I mentioned about my late client whose relatives I cannot get in touch with We contacted you because you bear the same surname
identity and therefore can present you as the beneficiary to the inheritance since there is no written will by our late client. I am compelled to do this because I would not want the bank to push my clients funds (US$25 Million U.S Dollars) into the bank treasury as unclaimed inheritance.
All the papers will be processed in your acceptance of this deal, we request that you kindly forward to us your letter of acceptance, your full name, your current telephone and fax numbers and a forwarding address to enable us file necessary documents at our high court probate division for the release of this sum of money in your favor.
Send your contact details to:
Andrew Henderson (ESQ)