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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "transaction is risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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: "Law Firm & Associates" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2016 09:48:15 +0200
Subject: International Chamber Of Commerce ICC
International Chamber Of Commerce ICC
Law Firm & Associates
OFFICE: Wilhelm str. 43G 10117 Berlin
Tel/Fax:+49 1521-84818 75
Request for Co-operation on a Private Business Relationship Jun 20th, 2016,
It is obvious that this letter will come to you as a surprise but please find time to read it carefully; I am Barrister, William R. Howell a Legal practitioner here in Germany and I wish to solicit your assistance in a deal that involves reasonable amount of money. This deal by virtue of its nature must be utterly confidential and top secret. Though I know that transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that this will be done under a legitimate arrangement that will protect both of us from any breach of the law. Like I stated above, I am a Legal practitioner here in Berlin and I came to know you in my private search for a reliable and reputable Business Person/individual that can handle this confidential deal with me, which requires maximum confidence and trust from both sides. MY PROPOSITION; I had a client by name Mr. Paul Louis Halley who was one of the richest man in France but does most of his business in London and Spain. He was into several business
I then decided to trace his relatives or family member over the internet, and hence I found you as my instinct convinces me that you will be a trustworthy and honest business partner and I decided to contact you to assist me in repatriating my late client's deposit before it got confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Financial institution where the fund is lodged.
I now seek your permission to present you as my deceased client relative and have you stand as the Next of Kin to my deceased client so that the funds of Ð7 Million (Seven million, Euros) can be released and paid into your account as the beneficiary and next of kin. I will provide all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up your claim. Please get in touch with me immediately if you are interested to assist me and send to me your contact address, and direct telephone number,
then I will commence work in your name. Be informed that this transaction is risk free otherwise my chambers will not contact you because it is against our ethics. Please acknowledge receipt of this message in acceptance of our mutual business endeavor by furnishing me with the followings
*You must issue this chamber the progress report of the investment on quarterly bases, that is, every three months.
*Every developmental plan of the investment most be forwarded to this chamber for preview before execution.
*You are to administrate, manage and head the investment while our duty is to supervise and make sure that the investment is up and doing.
*We will send delegates to inspect the investment; two weeks after the funds have been transferred to you and two months later for assessmentâs these measures was set aside by the deceased to ensure all beneficiaries and making the right investment and management of the fund received by them. If you have read these conditions and have agreed to them, then we can proceed to the transfer of fund proper. This will involve me processing some legal documents and affidavit to seal our contract and affidavit that will back up the transfer of the funds. Then the transfer of the funds can be made to your bank account through
BANK WIRE TRANSFER. Also, please send me a scanned copy of your current identity card or international passport, for proper identification.
Note: From this stage, all correspondence should be sent to E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barr.William R. Howell Esq.
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