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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Aaron Levitt." (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2019 19:03:22 -0600
Subject: For Your Information.
My name is Mr. Aaron Levitt, an attorney. I have information about a deceased client of mine (Name With-held) whom I believe is your family
relation. This is my second e-mail to you as my first was not greeted to a response. The details involve a specific amount of money to be
released by the bank and as his personal attorney, I have been given a one-week ultimatum by the bank to present someone for the payment
failure to do so the money will be declared unclaimed.
My Client died without a next of kin, the documents available to the banks only confirm that money can be released to a relation in absence
of a legal WILL. You stand to benefit 70% of the total money if successfully processed.
I await your reply.
Mr. Aaron Levitt.