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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "affidavit " (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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: BOA <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2019 11:41:12 +0200
Subject: From Mr. Charles Holiday
From the Desk of: Mr. Charles Holiday
I wish to seek your assistance for the transfer of US$40M depository
made by a foreign investor for an investment programmed that has
remained dormant for years now. I discovered that the account holder
died without making a WILL on the depository, and upon my further
curious investigation, the deceased was a member of a government
agency where huge amounts were reportedly missing.
This money cannot be approved to a local bank account holder, but can
only be approved to a foreigner. If you will stand as next of kin to
the fund, it will be shared 50%/50%, as this is a TWO-MAN business
deal transaction. I shall provide you with more details and relevant
documents that will help you understand the transaction. I need your
assistance and co-operation to this reality as I have done my
Home-work and fine tune the best way to create you as the beneficiary
of the fund. My position as the branch manager of the bank will be
used to advance this deal.
I will like you to provide immediately your full Names and Address,
Date of Birth, Occupation, Tel & Fax Numbers so that an Attorney will
be able to prepare the necessary documents and affidavit which will
put you in place as the next of kin. The Attorney will draft and carry
out the notarization of the WILL and also obtain the necessary
documents and letter of probate/administration in your favor for the
I will appreciate your early reply for commencement of business.
Contact me for acknowledgment by E-mail and whereby you are not
interested; please indicate in your reply so that I can seek for the
assistance of someone else.
If this proposal is acceptable by you, I expect that you will not take
undue advantage of the trust I will bestow upon you. I await your
urgent response. Do reply me through this e-mail
I await your urgent response.
Thanks with great regards.
Mr. Charles Holiday