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:
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "BrianBaldwin & Associates" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2013 04:56:07 -0500
Subject: Soliciting Your Concern!
We are solicitors and sole executor to the estate of Late Patrick and on whose authority we so act.
Our Client had interests in solid minerals prior to his death in an accident with his immediate family on the 5th of May, 2002.
We were recently contacted by the financial institution where our late client had a deposit of $3.8m to contact his kith and kin to notify them of his dormant account with the institution. To this end, We have made several requisitions in the relevant quarters seeking to find any of his possible extended relatives who would be presented as beneficiaries to his estate to no avail; thus necessitating our reaching you upon finding that you bear the same last name and more so, because we have in the exclusive possession of our firm, some deposit documents which were issued to our late client by the financial institution and which we are willing to make available to you to sustain a claim for his estate.
Kindly get back to us as soon as possible or send us a contact number to reach you on so we can proceed.