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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "PAUL KODJO ESQ." (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2017 10:01:55 -0500
Subject: I await your urgent reply
The Law Office of Advocate Mr. Paul Kodjo.
Address: No. 45, Bannerman Rd., Kumasi, Ghana
I am Advocate Paul Kodjo personal attorney to Mr,Edward , a national of your country, and a former Director (AIR LIQUIDE GHANA LIMITED) an Oil & Petroleum distribution company base in Ghana Republic West Africa, Here in after shall be referred to as my client. On January 31 2013,22:53 GMT, my client and his wife and three children were involved in a car accident along Kumasi Express way unfortunately lost their lives, my client had an account valued at about ($8.7 Million U.S dollars) deposited in bank here in Ghana.
I have made several effort to locate his extended relative and family members through their consulate and foreign affairs ministers but that proved unsuccessful, I decided to track his name over the Internet to locate any of his Family relatives but hence I contacted you, I want you to assist me in Repatriating the money and property left behind.
The bank has issued me mandate of 21 days notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated if I could not be able to provide someone who will stand to claim his balance in their bank, now I want you to stand as the next of kin . As soon as I hear from you I will go to Ghana authority to obtain change of ownership certificate on your behalf and submit it to the bank so that the bank here will deliver the documents to your bank so that your bank will not question you on how you make this money,
I will stand here as your attorney to ensure that the proceeds of this amount ($8.7 Million U.S dollars) will be paid into your account, then I will come to your country for the sharing of the money, 45% to me and 45% to you and then 10% will be donated to the orphanage homes.
Your honest cooperation to enable us achieve this business is required from you. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law. I will need the following information from you to help us achieve this claim;
Your Full Name:-------------
Your Telephone, and Mobile for Communication Purpose:--------------------
I await your urgent reply then I will give you more information.(firstname.lastname@example.org)
PAUL KODJO ESQ.