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:
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "million 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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "barrister Willem janse Rensburg" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 27 May 2016 05:03:50 -0600
I am Willem janse Rensburg a solicitor at law. I am the personal
attorney to Mr.Mark Peter a national of your country, who used to work
with Shell - development company in south african. Here in after shall be
referred to as my client.On the 21st of April 2002, my client, his wife
and their three children were involved in a car accident along north west
express road. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their
lives. Since then I have made several enquiries to your embassy to locate
any of my clients extended relatives.After these several unsuccessful
attempts, I decided to track his last name over the Internet, to locate
any member of his family hence I contacted you.
I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money and property left
behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable
by the bank where this huge deposits were lodged. Particularly, the
finance company where the deceased had an account valued at about USD$5.2
million dollars has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have
the account confiscated within the next ten official working days.
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that
will protect you from any breach of the law. Please get in touch with me
by my email and send to me your telephone and fax numbers to enable us
discuss further about this transaction.
Best regards, Willem janse Rensburg