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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Lester Reynold" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2015 04:20:11 +0200
Subject: Urgent Response needed...
My Dear Friend,
I know this letter may come to you as a surprise but due to the way I got your contact I was pleased to confide this secret with you as long as you are not going to betray me at the end. Am Mr. Lester Reynolds, a British Citizen and the lawyer to a contractor with the South Africa Mining Company who was my client and he died with his entire family in an Aircraft crash five years ago when he was travelling with his family for summer holiday. Your last name happens to be the same last name with the late contractor who was my client, this is the main reason why I am contacting you so that I can present you to the Bank as the Next of Kin to this funds because the Bank has written me letter of claim to this funds but I cannot front myself to claim this funds since I am the lawyer, so I decided to contact you who happen to bear the same last name with the deceased. The principal amount of this fund is $9.5 million. I have already lay down plans to execute the transfer , hence I seek for consent to this Proposal.
I wait to hear from you soon.
Mr. Lester Reynolds
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