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 us 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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barr. James Crampton" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2016 18:15:42 +0100
Subject: Can you stand as next of kin to my late client?..
My names are Barrister James Crampton, From James Crampton and Co. Solicitors, Attorney-at-law; actually I got your contact information through the our Country Public Record while searching for a last name similar to my late client's name, a business tycoon who lived here in Europe for over Twenty-One years; he was gruesomely murdered in Syria by the ISIS Militia group during a business trip to the Middle East While on their exploration and short holidays visit to Israel and Lebanon. However the circumstances and urgency of this claim have prompted me to send you this unsolicited correspondence, which I humbly apologize.
Before the catastrophe; He deposited a VAULT worth $4.6M (FOUR MILLION, SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND US DOLLARS) in one of the Financial Security Power House here in UK for a proposed investment before his untimely death. As the attorney to late Mr. Mark, the security Company has mandated me to present a member of his family (heir/inheritor) to make the claims or the funds will be confiscated and taken to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security as unclaimed.
After abortive efforts searching for a direct family member, I was given an ultimatum to look for some relative to put up a claim or have the account liquidated and made unserviceable in accordance with existing laws.
Against this backdrop, I do suggest you stand as the heir. I know you may not be anyway related to my late client but having a common surname with him and the modalities I have in place, I can guarantee you that if you follow my instructions (The rule of laws) the deposited fund will be release to us.
Mind you, this transaction is 100% risk free; there is no atom of risk connected to this transaction as I have worked out all modalities to complete the operation effectively, the whole documents are with me and I will change it to your name to ensure a smooth successful transfer of the fund to you. Once the fund is released to you, we shall divide the content in the ratio of 50% for you and 50% for me.
Kindly indicate your response to this letter via email; you can also call or text me for further clarification. Please be kind to get back to me if you are willing to collaborate with me to achieve this great opportunity.
Barr. James Crampton