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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "ADVOCATES LAWYERS SOLICITORS" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2017 15:12:17 -0800
Subject: Good Will
From The Desk of Selena T. Dawson
For your Information
I am very sorry for invading your privacy because we do not know each other but please I need your urgent assistance regarding this email you received. We are the Trustees and Executors of the Testament of my late client who died without a will.
I wish to notify you that you were listed as a beneficiary to the bequest of the sum of GBP15,500,000.00 in the codicil and last testament of my deceased client.
All I need is for you to accept so that we can obtain the probate division of court papers required for you to claim the funds from the holding bank. Please feel very to reply me for more details.
Selena T. Dawson
ADVOCATES LAWYERS SOLICITORS