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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "necessary legal documents" (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. )
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Mary Hills" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2019 04:08:50 -0700
Subject: I am Barrister Mary Hills
I am Barrister Mary Hills, the Personal lawyer to late Mr.Michael Frank Taylor, who was a contractor with gold company here in Nigeria.
On December, 2012, my client and his family were perished in a crash but my client made a fixed deposit valued at U$D38.5M), and upon the maturity his bank started contacting him but no response.Consequently,the bank issued me a notice as his lawyer to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated after 5 years as the law of this country says.
Since then I have made several inquiries to locate any of my clients extended relatives,this has also proved unsuccessful.Since i have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over some years now,that is why i seek for your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued at U$D38.5 million can be paid to you then we share the money together.I know that you might be wondering why i have decided to trust you with this huge sum, I could have done the business alone but there is no way I can succeed without a foreign hand,that is why I seek for your assistance so we can share the benefit together.
I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up the claim on your behalf. All i require is your honest and maximum cooperation to enable us see this deal through.I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
I will like to invest my own share of the money into real estate business or any other profitable business through your helping hand and advise.Please get in touch with me through email to enable me tell you the needed details so we can proceed.
Thanks and God bless you as I am expecting your urgent response.
Barr. Mary Hills