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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mark Apo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:59:41 +0100
Subject: GET BACK TO ME
I am Mr Mark Apo,solicitor at law,personal attorney to my late client.I need your urgent assistance to present you to the bank as the next of kin to the fund left behind by my late client.
The bank in which the fund was kept has isssued a notice to present the next of kin to claim fund or declared as an abandon treasury. For years now I had been locating any of his relatives but it was unsuccessful due to unfacilitated information about his extended relatives.
He died in an auto crash alongside his wife and their only daughter.Get back to me if you are interested.