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:
- 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)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million pounds" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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: "Office Contact" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 23 Nov 2016 23:55:52 +0000
Subject: My Dear Friend,
From: David James.
Cannon Street, London EC4M 5SE,
My Dear Friend,
I did a lot of searching before choosing your contact from your
countryâs website and business online register. It is with trust
and sincerity that I approach you for assistance to transfer some
funds into your bank account.
Please do accept my apology if my mail infringes on your personal
ethics. My name is David James, A Private Lawyer based here in
London. Honestly it will be my humble pleasure if we can work
I would like you to act as the next of kin to my deceased client
who made a deposit of Â£6,000,000.00 (Six Million Pounds Only)
with a Finance House here in London few years back. He died in an
auto crash with his wife and only child without any registered
next of kin and as such the funds now have an open beneficiary
mandate with the Finance House here in London. This means that
any person from your country can act as the next of kin to the
deceased person for the purpose of claiming the inheritance funds
without any risks involved.
The finance house which is owned by already rich directors will
confiscate the fund and convert it to their personal use if
nobody comes forward for the claims.
If you are interested in this transactions, Please do let me know
immediately so that I can give you comprehensive details on how
Please acknowledge the receipt of this letter via my office e-
mail address: email@example.com
I urgently hope to get your response as soon as possible.