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:
- 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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Mon, 20 May 2013 12:36:59 +0100
Subject: Hello Friend?
STEVE RICHARDSON & ASSOCIATES
Advocates At Law, Acting Solicitors, Notary Public,
Practitioner, Conveyances, Commercial Law, Admiralty,
Trust, Civil Litigation,
Personal Injuries, Wills, Property
First Floor, West Wing, Teachers' Hall Annex, 4 Barnes Close,
Education Loop Accra,Ghana
SUBJECT: URGENT AND
My name is Barrister Steve Richardson, A solicitor and an Advocate of the
supreme court of Ghana;
I worked as a personal Attorney to late Mr. Zulfiqar Ahmed Malik, an
expatriate, who was a consultant
with GOLD ASSOCIATION OF GHana and a dealer on Gold.
He died on April 21st, 2009. Since then I have made several inquiries as to
locate any of his extended
relatives, but all proved abortive. After several unsuccessful attempts,
hence I decided to contact you.
I am contacting you to assist in retrieving the money valued at (US$25.5M)
that was left behind by my client
(Zulfiqar Ahmed Malik) with the UTC BANK Accra Ghana before it declared
unserviceable account and be
confiscated by the bank.
Consequently, the bank issued a notice to provide any member of late
Zulfiqar Ahmed Malik family or
relatives within 10 days or the account will be closed. I hereby seek your
consent to act as relative to
late Zulfiqar Ahmed Malik and claim the money US$25.5M from the bank. I
will provide the necessary
informations to be used in convincing the bank that you relate to late
Zulfiqar Ahmed Malik. Whoever I
present to the bank will claim the money, since I am his personal Counsel
before he died; the bank knows
me, because I represent him in all his banking dealings with the bank.
When you claim the money, we share it 50% / 50%. All I require is your
honest co-operation to enable us
succeed without any hitch. I guarantee that this will be executed under a
legitimate arrangement that will
protect us from any breach of the law. I wait for your urgent reply.
You can call me with the below telephone number or send a fax confirming
the receipt of this letter. Your strong assurance and
confidentiality is highly needed.
BARR. STEVE RICHARDSON
Tel: +233 230 236 972.