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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "David Lambert" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2019 10:02:10 -0800
Subject: Kindly Consider and Revert
South Quay Plaza
183 Marsh Wall
Do accept my sincere apologies if my mail does not meet your personal
ethics. I would like to introduce myself, I am David Lambert and I work
with the staff in the accounts management section of a well-known bank
here in the United Kingdom.
One of our accounts is holding a balance of GBP48,375,000 (Forty Eight
million, Three Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Great British Pounds)
and has been dormant for some years now. From my investigations and
confirmations, the owner of this account died on the 16th of February
1999 in an autocrash in Birmingham, here in the UK.
Since then no one has responded in anyway with regards to claiming the
funds. As far as we can tell he has no family member that is aware of the
existence of either the account or the funds. Information from the United
Kingdom Border Agency also states that he was single on entry into the UK.
I have confidentially discussed this issue with some of the bank officials
and we have agreed to find a reliable partner to deal with us. We thus
propose to do business with you, standing in as the next-of-kin. We will
process these funds from the deceased and release them to you, after due
processes have been followed.
This transaction is totally risk free as the funds is legitimate and
devoid of any illegal/illicit activity. Please think this over and should
you be interested, do let me hear from you ASAP.