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:
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Gehard P" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2018 23:06:16 -0700
Subject: LET US ACHIEVE THIS TOGETHER
I have tried to contact you severally without luck, I hope you get my message this time and respond immediately. I am Gehard a legal practitioner from Germany, I want you to partner with me to act as a relative to my client who died intestate. I am seeking your consent to present you to the bank as the only surviving maternal relative to claim a deposit of $14 Million and this will be executed within the legal framework to make it 100% risk free.
My late client Dr. Patel, an American of Asian descent deposited this funds with one of the leading banks in Europe before he unfortunately lost his life in a ghastly car accident in September, 2016. He left no clear beneficiary as Next of Kin to this deposit because he lost his only son few years ago which led to his wife divorcing him in June, 2008 as such there is no clear beneficiary as Next of Kin to file for the claim of this funds except some vital documents related to the deposit that is still in my possession as his personal lawyer.
Recently, the governing body of the bank contacted me on this matter, requesting that I should notify the next of kin of my late client to claim the funds and I am yet to provide the Next of Kin to lay claims to the fund. I know my client had no living next of kin but I went ahead and made several inquiries to his embassy to locate any of his extended relatives but this has proved unsuccessful. Therefore, under a clear and legitimate agreement with you, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin to claim this funds so that it will not be confiscated by the Bank.
You and I can share the money, you will be entitled to 50% of the total funds for your role as next of kin to my late client, while the balance 50% will be for me.
There is no risk involved since all the legal documents to back up our claim will be procured by me. All I require is your sincerity, honesty, co-operation and utmost good faith to enable us achieve our goal successfully and I guarantee this will be executed under a legal process that will protect you and I.
We can both use this money to better the lives of our family instead of been confiscated by the Bank. Be rest assured in approximately two weeks, we should be done with this project and start enjoying the benefit if we dedicate our time to it.
I will greatly appreciate if you consider my offer and send me your full contact information
(1) Full Names:
(2) Mobile Number:
Do not forget that a project of this magnitude requires utmost confidentiality and sincerity. Therefore I advice you not to disclose the content of this letter to a
I look forward to your response soon.