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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "a security company " (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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: john bradford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2019 15:02:46 -0700
Subject: Business Assistance
John Bradford Solicitors & Associates
15 Bloomsbury Square London,
WC1A2LS, United Kingdom
I am the personal attorney to Steven Vandersande, a Netherland who was a
consultant with Shell UK LTD here in London, who hereinafter shall be
referred to as my client. Unfortunately My Client lost his life in a plane
crash MH17 on the 17th July, 2014 during one of his trip from Netherlands
(Amsterdam) to Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur). My Client left no clear
beneficiary to the fund deposited with a Security Company as Next of Kin
except some vital documents related to the deposit that is still with me.
All efforts by me to trace his Next of Kin and relatives have proved
abortive because he did not make any will prior to his death. Since then I
have made several inquiries to locate any of my late clients extended
relatives and this has proved unsuccessful. After my several unsuccessful
attempts to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you.
I am contacting you to assist in claiming the money left behind by my
client before they get confiscated or declared unclaimed by the security
company where this huge deposit was deposited. Particularly, the Finance
Company where He had the said fund valued at US$15,500,000.00 (Fifteen
Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) deposited has
issued me a notice to provide the next of kin. Consequent upon this, my
idea is that we can have a deal/agreement and I am going to do this legally
with your name as the true beneficiary of the amount in question as I have
all legal document to back our claim, I seek your consent to present you as
the next of kin to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued
at $15,500,000.00 Million US dollars can be paid to your account abroad,
note that 40% of this money will be for you, in respect to the provision of
a foreign account and 50% for me, 10% will be used for the reimbursement of
any expenditure we may incur in the cause of the transaction.
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that
will protect you from any breach of the law; all I need from you is your
utmost collaboration and sincerity for us to thrive in this deal. I want
you to reply me immediately and include your direct phone number so that we
can discuss more as regard to this transaction. Thank you and Please treat
this matter with utmost confidentiality. I wait your urgent response.
Please reply to this email address ...email@example.com
Barr. John Bradford.