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:
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Eddie Ulrich Esq <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 20 May 2013 08:37:11 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Willing To Assist?
I am Hon Mr Eddie Ulrich a solicitor at law, personal attorney to A. deceased client of mine, who have the same name with you, Origin from your country who used to work with Shell Development Company in Ghana. Here in after shall be referred to as my client. On the 21st of April 2008, my client, his wife and their only daughter were involved in a dangerous car accident along high way all occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives.
Since then I have made several inquiries to your embassy here to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, In my disparate search for urgent assistance, I decided to track his last name over the foreign mission to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you.
I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the fund valued at US$6.5 million left behind by my client before it get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the UBAbank Ghana Limited in Accra-Ghana, where this huge amount were deposited. And now the bank has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have his account confiscated within the next seventy one official working days. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2years now, I seek the consent to present you as the next of kin to the deceased since you have the same last names, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you.
Therefore, on receipt of your positive response, we shall then discuss the sharing ratio and modalities for transfer. I have all necessary information and legal documents needed to back you up for the claim. All I require from you is your honest cooperation to enable us see this transaction through. I guarantee that this will be executed under legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. Urgent response to this letter will be proudly appreciated.
Mr Eddie Ulrich Esq