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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (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 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: Barr. Williams Aliwo (Esq <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2016 16:46:02 -0400
Subject: Get back to me Only on this
Barrister Williams Aliwo
(John Oshodi Chambers)
53, Abbas street, Apapa-Lagos
I humbly crave your indulgence in sending you this mail, and if the content does not meet with your personal and business ethics, I wish to apologize in advance. My name is Barrister Williams Aliwo Esq. I am the personal attorney to a late national of your country who was an oil merchant here in Nigeria (whom I don't want to release the full names at this first email for obvious reasons). On the 27th of April 2010, my client was involved in a car accident here in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and unfortunately lost his life in the event of the crash. Since then I have made several inquiry to locate any of his direct relatives but all was to no avail.
Prior to the accident that claimed his life, my client was operating a bank account here with a cash balance of US$7.5Million (Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) and which has remained unclaimed till date. Basically, the reason I have contacted you is because the bank where the decease had the account has now issued me a notice to provide his next of kin within the next 21 working days or they will have no option than to declare the account unserviceable and confiscate the funds. Therefore, since I have not been successful with locating or rather tracing any of his direct relative till date, I wish to seek your consent to present your name as the next of kin of the deceased since you answer same surname and from the same country with him, so that the funds will be transferred to you as the beneficiary and then you and I will share the funds than allowing the bank to confiscate the huge amount. Fortunately, whether you are a direct relative of him or not is never a barrier to the success of the claim procedure.
Upon your acceptance and return mail, the process of claim is very simple and not complicated nor risky to your involvement. We shall acquire legal documents that will be used to backup this funds claim in your name as the next of kin/beneficiary of the funds. Hence, it will be necessary that you give me your honest co-operation and assistance to enable us see this transaction through. I guarantee you that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement in accordance with the inheritance claim act here, but more importantly, be rest assured that you are not breaking any law or under any risk whatsoever. Therefore, kindly get back to me and provide me with your: FULL NAMES, DETAILED ADDRESS AND PERSONAL PHONE NUMBER and should you need any further question, please feel free to ask me. NOTE: After a successful claim and transfer of the funds to the bank account which you will provide, you and I will share the funds at the rate of 50% for me and 50% for you as settlement for your assistance and cooperation.
I Awaiting your urgent response. Through this my private and personal email. ( email@example.com )
Barr. Williams Aliwo (Esq
Get back to me Only on this
Privet Email: ( firstname.lastname@example.org )