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:
- "barrister" (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.
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 20:44:21 +0530
Hello, I got your contact in course of my inquiry to locate relations of m=
y Deceased Client who died in a car crash. On the 7th of August 2011 it was=
reported to us that my Client, his wife and their only daughter were invol=
ved in a car crash. The reason for this is to inherit a Contract Payment De=
posits Account of $7.4 million of which the Deceased left in a Finance Firm=
. This request emerged when the Finance Firm contacted me for the attention=
of my Deceased Client (perhaps for one reason or the other they have tried=
to contact him and was unsuccessful) I announced his death and protocols o=
bserved. I was mandated (as the deceased's attorney) to provide the Next of=
Kin to inherit the Deposits or they will freeze it as" Unclaimed Deposit" =
Unfortunately, and unknown to the Finance Firm, the Next of Kin was among t=
he dead in the car crash. But rather leaving the Deposits/Account frozen he=
nce I seek your help to claim the fund into your Account as you share same =
names with the Deceased and I have the required Information to execute the =
transaction under legal process. Upon the conclusion of this transaction, I=
will come to your country, for the disbursement of this fund, which 40% of=
the total amount will be your compensation, while 60% will be my share for=
the investment I will need your help to establish in your country. Yours F=
aithfully, Michael Afonso. Legal Practitioner. firstname.lastname@example.org=20