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:
- "million dollars" (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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. johnson cole" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 04 Mar 2017 23:21:57 +0100
Watson, Farley & Williams LLP Solicitor, Advocate and Notary Public Office =
: 15 APPOLD STREET, LONDON, EC2A 2HB, ENGLAND. This Is Our Last Notice to Y=
ou. We wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary to th=
e total sum of US$ 50 Million Dollars in the intent of the deceased (name n=
ow withheld since this is our second letter to you). We contacted you becau=
se you bear the surname identity and therefore can present you as the benef=
iciary to the inheritance since there is no written will. Our legal service=
s aim to provide our private clients with a complete service. We are happy =
to prepare Wills, set-up and administer Trusts, carry out the Administratio=
n Of Estates and prepare / administer Power Of Attorney. All the legal pape=
rs will be processed in your acceptance. In your acceptance of this deal, w=
e request that you kindly forward your letter of acceptance, your full name=
s and address, your current telephone and fax numbers, Valid ID to enable u=
s file the necessary documents at the high court probate division for the r=
elease of the said sum of money in your favour. Yours faithfully, Barrister=
William Waston. Principal Partner.=20