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:
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "chambers" (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:
Date: Fri, 04 Dec 2015 12:12:02 +0200
Subject: YOUR INHERITANCE
From: Alex Williams Esq. (For Trustees)
Managing Partner (Williams Chambers)
Pretoria , South Africa
Tell: +27 634636255
Fax: +27 865122285
On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the estate of Late Mr. Edwin Freeman, I once again try to notify you as my earlier letter was returned undelivered. I hereby attempt to reach you again by this same email address on the WILL. I wish to notify you that late Mr. Edwin Freeman made you a beneficiary to his WILL. He left the sum of Five Million One Hundred Thousand Dollars (USD$5,100.000.00) to you in the codicil and last testament to his will.
This may sound strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real and true. Being a widely traveled man, he must have been in contact with you in the past or simply you were nominated to him by one of his numerous friends abroad who wished you good. Mr. Edwin Freeman until his death was a member of the Helicopter Society and the Institute of Electronic & Electrical Engineers. He was a very dedicated Christian who loved to give out. His great philanthropy earned him numerous awards during his lifetime.
Late Mr. Edwin Freeman died on the 16th day of February 2013 at the age of 90 years and his WILL is now ready for execution. According to him, this money is to support his Christian activities (May his soul rest with the Lord) and to help the poor and needy.
Please if I reach you as I am hopeful, endeavor to get back to me as soon as possible to enable me conclude my job. I hope to hear from you in no distant date.
Yours in His service,
Alex Williams Esq.