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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: John Wood LLP <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 20:34:07 +0100
I am J Wood, a solicitor at law. I am the personal attorney/sole executor
to the late Mr. Adams who died in a car accident with his immediate family on
the 5Th of November 2007 and Left behind a large deposit of money in a bank here
in the USD (15.2 Million ).
The finance company contacted me, as his attorney to provide his Next of Kin. I
seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you
have the same last name giving you the advantage so that the proceeds of this
account can be paid to you and then both of us can share the money, 60% to me
and 40% to you. Please get back to me on my private email email@example.com for
To facilitate the process of this transaction, urgently forward to me
Your full names,
Telephone and fax numbers,
For privacy and confidentiality reply using my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will
be expecting to hear from you.
J Wood LLP