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:
- "million 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)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Christopher Quinlan QC" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2017 15:37:58 -0700
I am Christopher Quinlan QC, a solicitor at law. I am the personal attorney/sole executor to the late Mr. Adams who died in a car accident with his immediate family in East London on the 1st of October 1997 and Left behind a large deposit of money in a bank here in the UK (15.2 Million Pounds).
The finance company contacted me, as his attorney to provide his Next of Kin. I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you have the same last name giving you the advantage so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you and then both of us can share the money, 60% to me and 40% to you. Please get back to me on my private email email@example.com for further details.
To facilitate the process of this transaction, urgently forward to me
Your full names,
Telephone and fax numbers,
I will be expecting to hear from you.
Christopher Quinlan QC