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 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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Robert Barton" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 17 May 2013 10:34:03 -1200
Subject: Attn: Kindly Reply!!!
My name is Roberts Barton a legal practitioner/personal attorney to an expatriate and a consultant with French Oil Company NOCOZOIL (Now deceased) He died in the Tsunami disaster on 26th December 2004 while on vacation in Thailand. Actually, I got your contact information through the Canada public records while searching for a last name similar to my late client. This project is based on trust, confidentiality and sincerity of purpose in order to have an acceptable meeting of the minds. Prior to me explaining further, I must first make an apology for this unsolicited mail to you. I am conscious that this is certainly not a predictable way of approach to foster a relationship of trust but because of the circumstances and urgency surrounding this claim.
Eleven years ago, My Client successfully executed a contract for the Spanish government worth US$16.5 Million Dollars. A part payment of US8 Million Dollars was paid to my client, while the balance of US8.5 Million Dollars was still unpaid before my client died. However, all my efforts to locate a possible next of kin proved abortive until his sudden demise at 44.
NOW THE CRUX OF THIS E-LETTER is that the government of Spain is paying all foreign contractors who have successfully executed their contracts and my client is among those that are benefiting in this first quarter payment schedule. As his personal attorney/Adviser, The Spanish Government instructed me to forward particulars of my client's next of kin as soon as possible to enable he/she be paid the outstanding US8.5 Million Dollars otherwise his payment will be diverted to the government coffers account as unclaimed bill.
Mind you that this transaction is 100% risk free; there is no atom of risk connected to this business as I have worked out all modalities to complete the operation effectively including all legal documentations. Once the funds is released, we shall divide the content in the ratio 50:50, 50% for you and 50% for me.
Kindly indicate your responses via my personal Email: firstname.lastname@example.org