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)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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: Handrick Handrick <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2017 10:06:54 -0600
Subject: My Dear Friend,
From: Handrick Handrick
Cannon Street, London EC4M 5SE,
My Dear Friend,
I did a lot of searching before
choosing your contact from your country’s website and business online register.
It is with trust and sincerity that I approach you for assistance to transfer
some funds into your bank account.
Please do accept my apology if my mail infringes on your personal ethics. My
name is Handrick Handrick , A Private Lawyer based here in London. Honestly it
will be my humble pleasure if we can work together.
I would like you to act as the next of kin to my deceased client who made a
deposit of 3,500,000.00 (Three Million Five Hundred Pounds Only) with a Finance
House here in London few years back. He died in an auto crash with his wife and
only child without any registered next of kin and as such the funds now have an
open beneficiary mandate with the Finance House here in London. This means that
any person from your country can act as the next of kin to the deceased person
for the purpose of claiming the inheritance funds without any risks involved.
The finance house which is owned by already rich directors will confiscate the
fund and convert it to their personal use if nobody comes forward for the
If you are interested in this transactions, Please do let me know immediately
so that I can give you comprehensive details on how to proceed.
I urgently hope to get your response as soon as possible through my private
Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) reply I mmediately.