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:
- "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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447031923714 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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)
- mutual partnership deal. barrister keith f mercer. email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org phone: +447031923714 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barrister Franklin Mercer" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2016 15:41:42 -0700
Subject: YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION
Please treat this message with brotherly understanding, I would like to handle mutual business partnership with you in respect of my late client, he was raised as Orphan unfortunately he died childless because he was emotionally traumatized as an Orphan having no blood relative. His left behind is worth Nine Hundred and Eighty Thousand Pounds Sterling (980,000.00GBP) and we can share it equal if only you can confidently handle it. This top secrete must remain in your mind alone until our success is fully achieved hopefully within 24 banking hours henceforth.
The deceased was my client for over a decade hence the release of his left behind will be smoothly handled in your favor inline with your mutual partnership to release my share of the fund when it is confirm in your hands this week. I look forward to your humble suggestion in this mutual partnership deal.
Barrister Keith F Mercer.