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:
- "service fee" (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. )
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Blount W. Gort, CEO." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 26 Sep 2020 12:06:27 -0700
Subject: A Revelation for your Benefit
Subject: An Estate of US$12.8 Million
Blount and Griffin Genealogical Investigators specializes in probate research to locate missing heirs and beneficiaries to estates in the United Kingdom and Europe.
We can also help you find wills, obtain copies of certificates, help you to administer an estate, as well as calculating how an estate, intestacy or trust should be distributed.
You may be entitled to a large pay out for an inheritance in Europe worth US$12.8 million. We have discovered an estate belonging to the late Depositor has remained unclaimed since he died in 2011 and we have strong reasons to believe you are the closest living relative to the deceased we can find.
You may unknowingly be the heir of this person who died without leaving a will (intestate). We will conduct a probate research to prove your entitlement, and can submit a claim on your behalf all at no risk to yourselves.
Our service fee of 10% will be paid to us after you have received the estate.
The estate transfer process should take just a matter of days as we have the mechanism and expertise to get this done very quickly.This message may come to you as a shock, however we hope to work with you to transfer the estate to you as quickly as possible.
Feel free to email our senior case worker Mr. Walter Anderson on email: email@example.com for further discussions.
With warm regards,
Mr. Blount W. Gort, CEO.
Blount and Griffin Associates Inc