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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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: "Dato Gregory" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 21:57:12 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: I am expecting your call and reply as soon as possible
I'm Gregory Dato, Private lawyer
to Late Eng. Michael, a national of your country, who used to work as the
Director of Petroliers (TOTAL BENIN) in Benin Republic West Africa Here in
after shall be referred to as my client. On 27th of May 2008 my client
also His wife and their three Children were involved in a car accident
Along Grossi Express-Road. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost
their lives. Since then I have made several enquirers to your embassy to
locate any of my clients extended relatives this has also proved
After these several unsuccessful attempts,
I decided to track His Surname over the Internet, to locate any member of
the Family or a person with the same last name that is why I contacted
you. I have contacted you to assist in Repatriating the money and property
left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared
unserviceable by the bank here. These huge deposits were lodged
particularly, with the "BANQUE ATLANTIQUE DU BENIN (BAB)" An
affiliate of Commercial Bank of Africa where the Deceased had an account
valued at about $3.8 Million Dollars.
The Bank has issued
me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated.
Since I have been unsuccessful in Locating the relatives for over four
years now I seek your consent To present you as the next of kin of the
deceased since you have The same last name so that the proceeds of this
account valued at $3.8 Million Dollars can be paid to you and then you and
me can Share the money.50% to me and 50% to you I will procure all
Necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claim we may
make. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us seeing this
I guarantee that this will be executed
under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of
the law. And the way we are going to achieve this is. I will need the
following important information from you,
Your Telephone and Mobile For Communication Purpose.
I await your reply ASAP. Contact me at my private email
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