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)
- "00,000.00" (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.)
- "liberia" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: William Osei <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 11:00:51 +0000
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam
My names is Barrister William R Osei a legal practitioner in Accra,Ghana.
I am the personal attorney to late Mr. Clifford Nkomo ,Who died of the deadly (EBOLA DISEASE) on this date of September 14th 2014 in his home country Liberia ,and he left no record of any next of kin or close relatives,I have made several attempts to locate any of my late client's extended relatives, which has proved unsuccessful. In regards to this,my late client deposited the sum of $5,700,000.00 with a Bank here in Accra,Ghana, the bank has issued me a final mandate to provide my clients next of kin or have the fund liquidated.
Based on my unsuccessful search for his relatives for the past 2 (months) now,i therefore seek your consent to present you as the next of kin/inheritor to my deceased client fund, since you bear the same last name with him, so that the money will be transferred to your account for us to share on an agreed percentage.
As his personal attorney,I have all the legal documents and all it takes to backup this claim. Upon your reply (email@example.com) ,i will fill you in with the procedures.
Thank you,Barr.William R Osei