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 united states 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ms. Joanna Hammah Esq." (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2012 22:12:35 -0400
Subject: Attn: I Would Like You TO Stand AS The Next Of Kin To My Late Client
Do accept my apologies if my mail does not meet your personal ethics, I want to introduce myself and this business opportunity to you.
My name is Ms. Joanna Hammah Esq., a personal attorney to my late client. I wish to know if we can work together. I would like you to stand as the next of kin to my late client who has an account valued 11.7million United States dollars, with a financial institute here in Ghana
He died without any registered next of kin and as such the funds now have an open beneficiary mandate. 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.
Fortunately, it will be very easy for me to make you become his official next of kin because I am his personal properties and investments lawyer. If you are interested, do let me know so that I can give you a comprehensive details on what we are to do.
I urgently hope to get your response as soon as possible.
Ms. Joanna Hammah Esq.