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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "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: "Federica Scondanibbio (ESQ)" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2018 00:29:55 +0200
Subject: LETTER FROM FEDERICA SCONDANIBBIO
Good day dear
I am Federica Scondanibbio, Attorney at law. A deceased client of mine,
that shares the same last name as yours, who died as the result of a
heart-related condition in March 12th 2009. His heart condition was due
to the death of all the members of his family in the plane crash in
January 15th 2009.
I have contacted you to assist in distributing the money left behind by
my client before it is confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank
where this deposit valued at Forty Eight Million US Dollars
($48,000,000.00) is lodged. This bank has issued me a notice to contact
the next of kin, or the account will be confiscated.
My proposition to you is to seek your consent to present you as the
next-of-kin and beneficiary of my named client, since you have the same
last name, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you. Then
we can share the amount on a mutually agreed-upon percentage. All legal
documents to back up your claim as my client's next-of-kin will be
provided. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this
This will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect
you from many breach of the law. If this business proposition offends
your moral values, do accept my apology. I must use this opportunity to
implore you to exercise the utmost indulgence to keep this matter
extraordinary confidential, whatever your decision, while I await your
prompt response. Please contact me at once to indicate your interest. I
will like you to acknowledge the receipt of this e-mail as soon as
possible via my private EMAIL :(firstname.lastname@example.org) and
treat with absolute confidentiality and sincerity.
I look forward to your quick reply.