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:
- "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.
- 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: PETUA VALENTINO <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 7 Oct 2020 11:04:41 +0000
Subject: Hello dear
I am writing you this mail in respect of my late client that bears the same
last name as you. My late client died in a motor accident whose relatives I
cannot get in touch with because he did not put down any WILL and he came
to this country when he was a little child.
I am compelled to do this because I would not want the bank to push my
clientâs funds into the bank treasury as unclaimed inheritance and the
amount involved is $14.5 millions dollars and 250 Kilogram of gold
deposited with the bank security department for safe keeping.
He died without any registered next of kin and as such the funds now have
an open beneficiary mandate. Fortunately, both of you have the same last
name so it will be very easy to make you become his official next of kin.
If you are interested you do let me know so that I can give you
comprehensive details on what we are to do.
Please you should send your response to my private email address:(
Barrister Petua Valentino