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:
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Stephen Hofman <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Mar 2020 12:14:58 +0000
I am a solicitor here in the United Kingdom. My late client Edmund
Miller Sr., an American who was a consultant with Shell UK LTD here in
London died with his family aboard Egypt Air Flight 990, which crashed
into the Atlantic Ocean on October 31st, 1999 For more information see
(news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/502503.stm) and left no beneficiary
with respect to an account with total sum of 10 million that has not
been operated on for the past 20 years as a result of his death.
I am seeking your co -operation to present you as the next of kin to the
account. Contact me so as to give you more details.
Thanks and Please treat as confidential.
I await your urgent response.
Barr. Stephen Hofman
Tel: (+44) 770-003-0850
Fax: (+44) 700-593-1145