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:
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- 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:
Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2017 12:02:04 -0800
Subject: How are you
How are you today? I am Daniele Gumede, an investor banker and the account officer to Mr. Julian Williams, CEO of Basileus Capital, a private-equity group here in Cape Town South Africa.
On the 26th of July, 2012, my client, (Mr. Williams) was shot dead by his former business partner due to a payment dispute/misunderstanding between them. See link below.
I have contacted you to assist in regaining the money deposited secretly by my client in total of Fifty Million US Dollars ($50,000,000 USD) before it gets appropriated and declared negated by my bank where this huge deposit was lodged.
Since the said amount above ($50,000,000 USD) was deposited without the knowledge of anyone of his (Mr. Williams) relatives, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you and then you and I can share. I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claim we may make. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us to see this deal through.
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. Please get in touch with me at email@example.com to enable us to discuss further about this transaction.