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:
- "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. )
- "million us 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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "attorneys " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mike Amazulu" <Bentom@webkeg.com>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2017 14:52:38 +0100
Mike Amazulu ATTORNEYS
Attorney's at Law, Conveyances & Public Notaries
5th Floor, Carlton Centre Johannesburg South Africa
Tel: + 27 782010559
My name is Attorney Mike Amazulu a legal practitioner based in Johannesburg
and the personal attorney to late Mr. Randolph Marriott, a Foreign National
who died along with his wife and two sons in a robbery attack in their farm
settlement home in Johannesburg, South Africa. My client was a successful
and an accomplished family man who made enough fortune before his untimely
death. Since then I have made several inquiries through his Embassy to
locate any of his extended relatives but this exercise has proved
unsuccessful. After several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his
relatives to locate any member of his family, not much progress was
Mr. Randolph Marriott was an influential wealthy businessman, a diamond
magnet here in Johannesburg and he left behind a deposit of Ten Million,
Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (USD$10.500, 000.00USD) in his
domiciliary bank account in a commercial bank here in South Africa. After
the death of Randolph Marriott, his bankers contacted me as his attorney to
provide his next of kin who should inherit his funds. The board of
directors of his bank adopted a resolution and I was mandated to provide
his next of kin for the payment of these funds or forfeit the money to the
bank as an abandoned property. The bankers had planned to invoke the
abandoned property decree of 1996 to confiscate the funds after the
expiration of the period given to me.
Fortunately, in the verge of my search, I came across your name through a
consultancy firm in your Chamber of Commerce & Industry that provided me
with your reputable data. Being convinced that you might provide clue to my
search. I therefore decided to contact you with these facts before me
because of the similarities. By virtue of my closeness to the deceased and
his immediate family, I am very much aware of my clients financial standing
and the bank account he operates.
I have reasoned very professionally and I feel it will be legally proper to
present you as the next of kin to my deceased client, so that you can be
paid the funds left in his bank account. I therefore seek your consent to
present you as the next of kin to the deceased since you are at an
advantage. The proceeds of this bank account valued at USD$10.5Million US
Dollars can be paid to you. We shall both share the funds equally, 50% for
me and 50% to you. I shall assemble all the necessary legal documents that
will be used to back up our claim. All I require is your honest cooperation
to enable us seeing the deal through.
NOTE: PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH ME BY EMAIL FOR PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY
TO ENABLE US DISCUSS FURTHER
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that
will protect you from any breach of the law.
Attorney Mike Amazulu