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:
- "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)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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: "Diego Alonso" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 04:10:57 +0800
Subject: RE: PLEASE CLARIFY
Calle Bruc n Nº 84
7 Grigori Afxentiou
5390 Sotira (Ammochostou)
As a matter of introduction my name is Diego Alonso, Attorney to Late Ms. Elena Avgustis who died along-side her entire family on the 11th March 2004 train bombing in Madrid. It may surprise you receiving this letter from me, since there was no previous correspondence between us but be assured that this proposal was made in good faith for our mutual benefit hence I solicit your absolute confidence in this matter.
I got a call from a friend of mine who is a banker a couple of months ago informing me that my late client left the total sum of US$5. 700. 000,00 (Five Million, Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) in a secret bank account in their bank and provided me with the details of the account. With the information provided I approached the bank for the release of the fund and they have agreed to release the fund to the next of kin to my late client but the problem is that I have not been able to locate anyone related to my late client and the secret account will be declared unserviceable by the bank come September which will then authorize the local government of Madrid to confiscate the fund in accordance with our inheritance law since my late client died intestate and no one has filed for claim eight years after her dead.
This by itself is not unusual, we know that many people for different reasons, some for security reasons, others to avoid tax burden chose to stash their money in secret bank accounts in foreign countries but I was surprised that eight years after my client died I did not know she had such large sum of money in my country until recently. Now, my purpose of contacting you is for you to help secure the fund to avoid it being confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Bank.
Since your last names are similar and the fund has already been approved for release after my confrontation with the bank, presenting you as my clients next of kin would not be a problem because all relevant documents were submitted to the bank before they were able to consider/approve my request. The only thing left right now is an affidavit of heir-ship introducing you to the bank as my clients next of kin which I will make available once I hear from you. Again, the bank has informed me that once the account is declared unserviceable and the fund retired or transferred, the account will be permanently closed and no further request regarding the account will be admitted. This is a once in a life time opportunity therefore I want to partner with you in this project to claim the fund before its too late. Please consider my proposal in good faith.
Upon the completion of the transaction you will retain 50% of the total sum and the remaining 50% will be mine. Please be assured that this transaction is entirely risk free as I guarantee the legality and success of the transaction and once the process of claim begins this transaction will be completed within seven working days. To get it started please confirm your full names, address and telephone number via E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attorney at Law