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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "THE CROWELL LAW FIRM" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2019 04:01:39 +0100
Subject: FOR YOUR INFORMATION BENEFICIARY i
My name is William, a reputable Lawyer. I retrived your contact address in my search for the next of kin to a deceased client of this chamber.He was a citizen of your country, who lived and died in the United Kingdom from Cardiac arrest in the year 2009. Unfortunately this customer died intestate leaving the bank account with an open beneficiary status. All efforts made by our bank to locate my client's relatives have been unsuccessful. I secretly paid a private investigator to search for a family member of my deceased client and the closest result he came up with was you but he told me you are not related to my deceased client in anyway but you both have the same last name and each search he ran keeps bringing up your information. He did confirm that my deceased client had no surviving family member anywhere.His wife died in 2007 and they didn't have children.So i decided to present you to our bank as the next of kin to claim the dormant account worth $9.2 million.
You will apply to the bank as an extended relative to the deceased customer while i work from the inside to make sure all needed information and evidences are provided to you to back up your claim. since my client is from your country and you both share the same last name. it is easy for you to become his official next of kin. if we do not make claim to the funds now. the funds would be reverted back to the system as unclaimed estate at the expiration of a 10-year dormancy period in few months.I assure you that this transaction would be handled under due inheritance procedures and every necessary legitimate arrangement will be put in place to make you the real beneficiary of the inheritance funds. It also requires all confidentiality at this stage and i believe that you are ready to keep this absolutely discreet until you are able to claim the funds from the bank.This transaction is 100% risk free.
Please acknowledge the receipt of this message in acceptance of our mutual business by providing your full name,address and direct phone number.Also state that you are responding in regards to the unclaimed funds.Email me on (firstname.lastname@example.org) We shall discuss more in details as well as the procedure to achieve a successful completion.This is an opportunity of a lifetime and people achieve it everyday.
I await your response
The Crowell Law Firm UK