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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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)
- "million british 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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: Barrister George Nicholas <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 8 Apr 2017 07:02:22 -0400
Subject: From George Nicholas
Greetings to you, with warm heart I offer my friendship, and greetings, and I hope this message meets you in good time. However strange or surprising this contact might seem to you as we have not met personally or had any dealings in the past, I humbly ask that you take due consideration of its importance and the immense benefit it will be to You. After careful consideration, I resolved to contact your assistance in this manner. I duly apologize for your most needed infringing on your privacy.
I am George Nicholas from United Kingdom;I have a client who bears the Same name with you, his wife and their three children were involved in a car accident and all occupants in the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives. Since then I have made several inquiries to locate any of my Late client's extended family and relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful. After several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives over the internet, but to no avail, hence I decided to contact you.
I contacted you to assist me in repatriating the money left behind by my late client before they got confiscated or declared not serviceable by the Finance House where these huge deposits were lodged. Particularly, the Bank where the deceased Fund is have issued me a notification to provide the next-of-
kin or have the Fund confiscated.
I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin to the deceased so that the proceeds valued £20MillionGBP Twenty Million British Pounds only, can be paid to you and then you and I can share the money through investment. I will work out all the necessary legal documents that can be used to back up this claim, I guarantee that this will be executed under legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. All I require is your honest co-operation to enable see this transaction through.
To enable the process go seamless, please provide the below information.
(1) Full Names
(2) Present Residential Address:
(3) Present Phone, Fax and Mobile#:
(4) Present Profession, Age and Marital Status:
I wait to hear from you ASAP.
Barrister George Nicholas