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:
- "million pounds" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: Barrister David Bentley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2012 12:33:28 -0700
I wish to bring to your notice a request that would be of immense benefit
to both of us. Being an executor of WILL, it is possible that we may be
tempted to make fortune out of our client situations, when we cannot help
it, or left with no better option. The issue I am presenting to you is
about my client who WILLS a fortune to his next- of-kin. It was most
unfortunate that he died along with his next of kin on the same day in the
Shiraz plane crash of Tuesday 10 February 2004.
According to the English law, the fortune is supposed to be bequeathed to
the government. However, I don't belong to that school of thought which
proposes that the fortune of unlucky people be given to the government.
My purpose of contacting you is to seek your assistance to act as the
benefactor of the WILL, and lay claim to the legacy (12.4million pounds
sterling), which this my unfortunate client bequeathed to his next of kin.
For now, it is only known to me, as my client had great confidence in me.
Everything will be left between you and me. The share would be 40% for you
and 60% for me. All I have to do is to amend the WILL stating you as the
beneficiary to the 12.4 million pounds sterling. As I am yet to get your
consent on this issue, I would prefer not to divulge my full identity so
as not to risk been dis-barred from the English Bar. The English Bar
considers it a breach of the oath of the English Bar Council. Due to the
nature of this business I would prefer we maintain utmost confidentiality.
Due to the risks involve and also the activities of fraudsters now rampant
on the Internet, and until I am sure of your consent, full cooperation and
genuine willingness to assist me for our mutual benefit.
I would prefer that we maintain correspondence by email. At this s point I
want to assure you that your true consent, full cooperation and
confidentiality is all that are required for us to take full advantage of
this great opportunity. This is an opportunity that people rarely have.
CONTACT ME VIA: email@example.com
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Barrister David Bentley