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. )
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "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 mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: Patrick M Igodoego <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:22:54 -0700
Subject: I have a proposition for you
I know that this will come to you as a surprise as you do not know me but I believe that this will form the genesis of a long lasting relationship between us. Let me introduce my self and the reason why I write you, I am Barrister. Patrick Maxwell Igodoego, Solicitor and Personal Attorney to Mr. Dennis Teichmann, a citizen of your country who used to work as a Contractor with Diamond Melting & Mineral Exporting company, Pretoria, South Africa.
On the 21st of April 2000, my client was involved in a car accident along the Pretoria inter state High way unfortunately, he lost his live in the event of the accident, and is survived by an adopted child whom is living with me due to some circumstances, this has prompted me to contact you, I have made several inquiries to locate any of my clients extended relatives and this has proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives over the Internet, to locate any member of his family hence I came across your name as you bare the same surname I decided to contact you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the firm where these huge deposits were lodged. Particularly, the security firm where the deceased had a deposit valued at about $48.7 million Dollars (Forty Eight Million Seven hundred thousand United states Dollars). Consequently, the Security Company issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the deposit declared recovered treasure and diverted to the company treasury.
Since I have been unsuccessful to locate the relatives for some years now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you are the same country that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you for both of us to share the money; 60% to me and 35% to you, 5% to charity. I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up the claim. I will provide you with more information on this as we progress.
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 through my direct email: or send Fax:+27 86 663 4910 directly to enable us discuss further.
Barrister. Patrick M Igodoego (ESQ).
Tel: +27 11 0837812
Fax: ++27 86 663 4910
Direct Email: (firstname.lastname@example.org)