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:
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: haman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2017 13:07:37 -0700
I want to use this mail to persuade you to apply for remittance of an
UNCLAIMED foreign exchange left as balance in the accounts of my
client (a foreigner from your country) who died in 2008.
The ACCOUNTS contain:
US $2, 200,000,
Nobody has since then come for the claim over the years.
Therefore I seek your consent to present you as the Beneficiary so
that the proceeds of these accounts can be paid to your account.
The bank does not have contact information of any beneficiary in the
file and is requesting me to alert the relatives to come for the
All I require now is your honest Co-operation, AND I guarantee this
will be executed under a legitimate arrangement and you will be
protected from breach of the law.
We can set up an IRREVOCABLE FEE PROTECTION AGREEMENT that will
interpret the disbursement ratio.
Please contact me for more details.
Law Office of JM, Beyeli & Associates
24 Rue General De Gaule
LomÃ©, Togo, BP: 1386
Tel: +228 98766 205