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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united state 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (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 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: "Henry Ivan Loo" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2016 20:47:29 +0100
Subject: Business Interest
I am Barrister Henry Ivan Loo, an attorney at law. I discovered your email and
information through comprehensive web email search on directory so I
decided to contact you
A deceased client of mine, who hereinafter shall be referred to as my
client, died as the result of a heart-related condition on the 11 November
2001. His heart condition was due to the death of all the members of his
family in the Gulf Air Flight Crashes in Persian Gulf near Bahrain Aired
August 23, 2000 - 2:50 p.m. ET as reported on:
I have contacted you to assist in distributing the money left behind by my
client before it is confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank
where this deposit valued at One Hundred Million United State
Dollars. ($100,000,000.00 USD). Is lodged. This bank has issued a notice to
contact the next of kin, or the account will be confiscated.
My proposition to you is to seek your consent to present you as the
next-of-kin and beneficiary of my named client, so that the proceeds of
this account can be paid to you. Then we can share the amount on a
mutually agreed-upon percentage. All legal documents to back up your claim
as my client's next-of-kin will be provided. All I require is your honest
cooperation to enable us see this transaction through. This will be
executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from many
breach of the law.
This will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you
from many breach of the law. If this business proposition offends your
moral values, do accept my apology. I must use this opportunity to implore
you to exercise the utmost indulgence to keep this matter extraordinary
confidential, whatever your decision, while I await your prompt response.
Please contact me at once to indicate your interest. I will like you to
acknowledge the receipt of this e-mail as soon as possible via my private
EMAIL: (firstname.lastname@example.org) and treat with absolute
confidentiality and sincerity. I look forward to your quick reply.