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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Malcolm.Burrows" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2021 12:20:53 +0800
Subject: Treat as Urgent
My name is Malcolm Burrows, Legal Practice Director and Founder of Dundas
Lawyers, in 270 Adelaide Street Level 13, Icon Place Brisbane, Queensland
I saw your contact and profile and decided that you could cooperate with me
in this proposition.
I have a client who died in November, 2019, in Australia. I am contacting
you to present to the Bank as the rightful beneficiary of my deceased
client and I felt that you could help me with his funds that were left in
his bank account. This funding is closed to be declared un-serviceable by
the bank as there was no indicated next of kin or next beneficiary of the
funding in the bank account of my deceased client.
The total amount of cash in the bank account of my deceased client is US$
23.5 Million (Say, Twenty-Three Million, Five Hundred Thousand United
States dollars plus interest) The bank had issued to me a notification to
contact the next of kin for either to re-activate the bank account or to
make claim of beneficiary of the funding in the bank account, so as to
avoid the indefinite closure of the bank account. My proposition to you is
to seek your consent and to present your kind self as the next-of-kin and
beneficiary of my deceased client since you have the same last name with
This means that the proceeds of his bank account would be paid to you as
his next of kin or the beneficiary. When the proceeds in his bank account
are paid to you, we would share the proceeds on a mutually agreed-upon
percentage of 55% to me and 45% to your kind self.
All the legal documents to back up your claim as my client's next-of-kin
would be furnished by the High Court of Australia . The most important
thing I would need is your honest co-operation in this proposition. This
would be done under a legitimate arrangement that would protect you from
any breach of the law.