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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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. )
- "huge deposit" (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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "lome togo" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "BARRISTER JIM SAN DUKE" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 10:45:45 -0700
Subject: Hello Daer,
I am Barrister DUKE SAN. a solicitor at law. I am the personal attorney to Mr. Martin . Hudson a national of USA. who used to work with Shell-development Company in Lome Togo.
Here in after shall be referred to as my client. On the 21st of April 2003, my client, his wife were involved in a car accident along sagamu express road Lome Togo.
All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives. Since then I have made several enquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful.
After these several unsuccessful attempts to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you.I am contacting you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where this huge deposit were lodged.
Particularly, the finance company where the deceased had an account valued at about US$32,500,000.00 has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated within the Next Ten Official Working Days.
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over nearly 10years now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you are a Foreigner, so that the proceeds of this account valued at US$32,500,000.00 can be paid to you and then you and me can share the money.I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claim we may make.
All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through.I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
Please get in touch with me by my email and send to me your telephone and fax numbers to enable us discuss further about this transaction.
Hope to hear from you in receipt of this mail: email@example.com
BARRISTER JIM SAN DUKE