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:
- ",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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "high court" (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 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 (Mail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Johnson Cole"<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:16:50 -0800
Subject: my subject
Watson, Farley & Williams LLP Solicitor, Advocate and Notary Public Office:=
15 APPOLD STREET, LONDON, EC2A 2HB, ENGLAND This Is Our Last Notice to You=
We wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary to the t=
otal sum of US$ 50,000,000.00 Dollars in the intent of the deceased(name no=
w withheld since this is our second letter to you). We contacted you becaus=
e you bear the surname identity and therefore can present you as the benefi=
ciary to the inheritance since there is no written will. Our legal services=
aim to provide our private clients with a complete service. We are happy t=
o prepare Wills, set-up and administer Trusts, carry out the Administration=
Of Estates and prepare and administer Powers Of Attorney. All the papers w=
ill be processed in your acceptance. In your acceptance of this deal, we re=
quest that you kindly forward your letter of acceptance,your current teleph=
one and fax numbers and a forwarding address to enable us file necessary do=
cuments at our high court probate division for the release of this sum of m=
oney in your favour. Yours faithfully, Barrister johnson cole. johnsoncole1=
email@example.com Principal Partner