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:
- 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 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 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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barrister Redeen Isaac Franklin" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2017 07:53:42 -0800
Subject: ATTENTION IS NEEDED!!!
I write to share this confidential business transaction with you. I am Barrister Redeen Isaac Franklin, a solicitor at law and the principal partner Redif Chambers Chambers here in London. I was the personal attorney to one foreign client who hails from your Country and bears the same last name with you. Eventually, this my client died in a car accident with his immediate family on the 5th of November 2006 and Left behind a large deposit of (USD30. 5 Million Dollars (Thirty Million Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars) in Barclays Bank PLC. This is situation I have monitored closely with my legal position and obligation as his personal attorney for more than eleven years. I have made even several inquiries to your embassy to locate any of my late clients extended relatives without success. After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to track his last name over the Internet, to locate any member of his family hence I got your contact and contacted you.
Note that Barclays Bank PLC United Kingdom just contacted me as his attorney to provide his Next of Kin. It is in view of this I herein solicit for your assistance to present you as the next of kin since you have the same last name giving you the advantage for the onward claim/release of the fund to your account for our mutual benefit. I have finalized every necessary arrangement on this regards hence your honesty and absolute cooperation is highly needed.
This business project has no any risk attached to it as all the internal documentations will be handled by me. I therefore request you to confirm your interest by a return message and I will furnish you with details.
you can contact me below this email: email@example.com
Your interest will be negotiable before we commence the operation. Your immediate respond to this mail, is highly anticipated.
Barrister Redeen Isaac Franklin