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:
- "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. )
- "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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Aaron Dickson <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Aaron Dickson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2014 10:33:24 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: 25TH NOV. 2014
Hello Sir/Ma ,
This letter is not intended to cause you any embarrassment in whatever form, rather it is intended to contact your esteemed self, Firstly, I must solicit your confidentiality. I know that a proposal of this magnitude will make anyone apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that it is made in good faith and will be of mutual benefit, I am Mr. Aaron Dickson the Personal Estate Lawyer to Mr. Harvey Benson, a consultant with an oil firm here in Nigeria. Who died on the 23rd of August 2010, my client and his wife were involved in an auto crash along Port Harcourt-Warri road, Unfortunately they lost their lives in the event of the accident, since then I have made several contacts to locate any of his extended relatives, but all proved abortive. Hence I decided to contact you.
I am contacting you to assist in retrieving the money valued at US$20.8 million dollars left behind by my client with the Spring Bank Nigeria plc, before it gets confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank. Consequently, the bank issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated within the next ten official working days. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 3 years now, I hereby seek your consent to act as the next of kin to the deceased, the proceeds of this account valued at (US$20.8 million dollars) can be paid to you and then you and I can share the money. I have all the necessary legal documents that can be used to back up this project. Should you be interested please, furnish me with your direct phone numbers for oral conversation after which I will provide you with more details of this transaction and how to proceed.