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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Augustine Harper <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Augustine Harper <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2014 17:11:14 +0000 (UTC)
From: Augustine Harper & Associates (Norwood)
Address: 1The Avenue, Cnr. Henrietta Rd, Norwood,
Gauteng / Johannesburg.
Republic Of South Africa.
Direct Phone Number +27845225258
Office Number: 0027719518770
My Dear Friend,
It is with trust and sincerity that I approach you for assistance to transfer some funds into your bank account. Please do accept my apology if my mail infringes on your personal ethics. My name is Augustine Harper. A Private Lawyer based here in Johannesburg South Africa. Honestly it will be my humble pleasure if we can work together.
I would like you to act as the next of kin to my deceased client, a citizen of your country, who made a deposit of $23.5 million only with a Bank here in Johannesburg few years back. He died in a plane crash with his immediate family in a plane crash without any registered next of kin and as such the funds now have an open beneficiary mandate with a Bank, This means that any person from your country can act as the next of kin of the deceased person for claiming the inheritance funds without any risk involved.
Moreover, I have received official letter from the bank suggesting a likely proceeding for confiscation of the Fund in line with existing laws by the bank in which my client deposited the sum of $23.5 Million Dollars . According to the Government Law as provided in section 129 sub 63(N), South African Banking Edit of 1961 at the expiration of 11 years the fund will revert to the ownership of the South African Government, if nobody applies to claim the fund.
My proposition to you is to present you to the bank as the Next of kin and beneficiary of my deceased client so that the bank will pay this $23.5 million to you so that we can share the amount on a mutually agreed percentage of 60% for me 40% for you.
All legal documents to back up your claim as the deceased Next of Kin will be provided by me. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this transaction through. I guarantee you that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
If you are interested in this transactions, Please do let me know immediately so that I can give you comprehensive details on how to proceed.
Barrister Augustine Harper