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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Barr. Roberts Barton" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2013 23:10:04 +0100
Subject: Classified Details !
Warm regards. This project is based on trust, confidentiality and sincerity of purpose in order to have an acceptable meeting of the minds. I am an established lawyer. My name is Roberts Barton Esq. a legal personal attorney to an expatriate and a consultant with a French oil company, NOCOZOIL (Now deceased) He died in the Tsunami disaster on 26th December 2004 while on vacation in Thailand.
Eleven years ago, My Client successfully executed a contract for the Spanish government worth US$16.5 million dollars. A part payment of USD8 million dollars was paid to my client, while the balance of USD8.5 million Dollars was still unpaid before my client died in the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster. However, all my efforts to locate the possible next of kin proved abortive until his sudden demise, He was not married and was 44years old.
NOW THE CRUX OF THIS E-LETTER is that the government of Spain is fully paying all foreign contractors who have successfully executed their contracts and my client is
among those that Benefited in this first quarter payment schedule, which has already been deposited in his bank. As his personal attorney/Adviser, Banco de Espana has officially notified and instructed me to forward particulars of my client's next of kin within the next 21 official working days so that he/she can be paid the outstanding USD8.5 Million dollars otherwise his payment will be diverted to the government coffers account as unclaimed bill.
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating any of his relatives, I decided to contact you for a deal so that we can work together as a team to remit the money to your
account as my client next of kin since I do not want to seat and watch my client hard earned entitlement to go astray, it will be easy for us to achieve because you are of the same name and country like him. Although I know that a transaction of this magnitude might make anyone apprehensive but I would like to assure you that I am
proposing this project to you with the best of intensions. As a lawyer, I have the power to secure all the necessary legal documents that will be used for this claim.
All I require from you is your honest co-operation to enable us seal this deal through. I guarantee that this transaction will be executed under a Legitimate banking
arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law. Upon successful conclusion of this project; you will be compensated with 50% of the total fund, while 50% will be for me.
If you are interested to work with me in this deal, kindly reply strictly to my personal Email: firstname.lastname@example.org with your personal Telephone /fax number for
effective communication and oral clarification on how to proceed next.
Roberts Barton Esq.