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:
- "transferred into your bank account" (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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "barrister" (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: "Bar. R. Douglas" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2020 09:29:53 -0500
Subject: Ref: Investment]]
My name is Barrister Rechard Douglas, Attorney to Engr. Kewal Pajpul,
an Indian National who was a gold merchant based in Accra Ghana in
West Africa. On the 19th of January, 2012, my client traveled to Kano
State in Nigeria West Africa to seal up a contract deal with a Mining
firm based in Kano State, but unfortunately he was killed by the
coordinated bombing and gun attacks in Kano by the Boko Haram Sect an
Islamic religious sect in Nigeria, in which over 100 people were
killed, on the 20th January 2012, see Nation Newspaper of 21st January
2012 or this website
for details. Before his death, he deposited the sum of $45M US dollars
with a bank in Ghana meant for the purchase of a gold field in Ghana
which I am fully aware of as his attorney. Since his death, the
business could not continue which made me to demand back the fund from
the bank but I was asked to present the next of kin to the deceased.
All effort made to get the relatives of the deceased proved abortive
hence I have to seek your assistance to stand as the next of kin to my
client, on condition that I and you will share the fund on the
modalities as may be agreed by both of us once it is transferred into
your bank account.
I have all the necessary documents to back up this claim. I hope to
buy shares from your country.
Await your urgent response.
Bar. R. Douglas