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.)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "Micah Omajam" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2017 04:22:25 -0700
Subject: Property and Money inheritance left for you !
I'm Micah Omaja, Private lawyer to Late Agostin Hamm , who worked as Managing Director at the la compagnie petroliere NS Oil & Gas ltd in Benin Republic.
Unfortunately, my client and his entire family were involved in a devastating plane crash with the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. There were 298 fatalities during this accident including my client and his beloved ones.
It has been three years now, so I made several enquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives because of money ($17.5 million USA) my clients left behind.
After all these attempts, I have yet to find any relative. That is why I decided to use Yahoo Private People search to track his last name/surname over the Internet to locate any member of the Family. The Private People Search determined you to be a direct relative or a relative in his bloodline. Because you have similar Last name as my client, there should be no problem for you to claim this money as soon as possible. I am writing you this letter otherwise the money will be put on hold by the corrupt leaders of this country.
As a lawyer is my duty and obligation to assist you in repatriating the $17.5millions dollars and property left behind by my client before it gets confiscated or declared un-serviceable by the corrupt leaders here.
I will send you more details as soon as I confirm the below information from you.
Please kindly reply via my personal email: email@example.com
I await your reply ASAP.
Your Occupation: ..........................
Barrister Micah Omaja Esq
Cotonou, Littoral 0800-B