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:
- "hundred thousand great british pounds" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "McKinney & Co. Solicitors" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2013 11:48:06 -0500
I contacted you because you bear the surname identity and therefore I can
present you as the sole beneficiary to the inheritance. I therefore
reckoned that you can receive these funds as you are qualified by your name
identity. Please note that I never said this person was your known
relative, but that you were nominated for a simple reason; which is you
bearing the same last Name. This would be done in accordance with the
Inheritance Laws of United Kingdom by obtaining the Court validation paper
as well as a Letter of Administration.
We have the responsibility to do this, without this process the inheritance
would be taking over by the Crown Court and released to the Government
coffers. As soon as we get further response of your acceptance to receive
this sum, we will forward to you all the relevant papers and forms by email
or fax because we hope to finalize everything within the shortest possible
time with your full co-operation.
However, the same United Kingdom inheritance law prevents an Attorney,
Solicitor or Law Firm from being a beneficiary of an Estate of any client;
hence our reasons for contacting you since you bear the same last name.
Therefore, in plain words we are nominating you to accept the
responsibility of becoming the Administrator of the estate, which is,
receiving the Inheritance Estate Twenty Three Million Four hundred
thousand Great British Pounds for the purpose of distributing it between
you and me on this ratio thus; 50% for you and 50% for me .
The funds Twenty Three Million Four hundred thousand Great British Pounds
belongs to one of our foreign client / customer who died along with his
entire family. We cannot release the fund from his account unless someone
applies for claim as the next-of-kin to the deceased as indicated in our
judicial laws. Upon this discovery, we now seek your permission to have you
stand as a next of kin to the deceased as all documentations will be
carefully worked out by us for the funds to be released in your favor as
the beneficiary / next of kin.
I am assuming that this is acceptable to you, so please confirm that and I
would be forwarding in my next email what needs to be done.
I look forward to your prompt response.