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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "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. )
- "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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "FORZA EMMANUELE." (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 4 Jul 2016 02:46:44 -0700
Subject: Re: Mutual Assistant Needed.
I am FORZA EMMANUELE an Italian a solicitor at law. I am the personal attorney to Mr. Owen Smith a Diamond Jewelry dealer, with vast experience with precious Stones. Who Herein after shall be referred to as my client.
On the 21st of April 2013, my client, his wife and their three children were involved in a car accident in Sydney Australia. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives. Since then I have made several inquiries to locate any of my clients extended relatives as none is documented with the file acquired by my office.
After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to search for a foreigner over the Internet whom I can present to the bank for his claim; since I could not 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 un-serviceable by the bank where these huge deposits were lodged. Particularly, the finance company where the deceased had an account valued in millions of Euros has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated within the next ten official working days.
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2 years now I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased, so that the proceeds of this account valued in huge deposit can be paid to you and then you and I can share the money. 60% to me and 40% to you I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claim required. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us to see this deal through.
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you and me 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.