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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million us 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Richard Walker" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2019 11:17:04 -0800
Subject: Potential Partnership.
With all due respect,
My name is Richard Walker an attorney by profession. In my
quest to find a reliable trustee to manage the assets/estate
of my late client valued at $15,000,000.00 (Fifteen Million
US Dollars, I decided to write this proposal, hoping to have
a profitable business relationship with you.
Here is a short press report shortly after her passing away:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20358637/ . Whatever that report
painted her to be, she was a great woman doing good
especially in the area of charity, in the last five years of
I shall be willing to supply you with more detailed
information concerning this business upon hearing from you.
I have no intention whatsoever of interfering with your
private life considering the fact that you have never had
any communication with me in the past. Due to the nature of
this business, and by law, I cannot assume the role of a
trustee or appoint any of my relation to become the trustee.
By virtue of the facts and circumstances surrounding this
project, I am left with no other choice, but to carry out a
careful search for a reputable person outside the shores of
my country in the United Kingdom and consequently seek your
consent to stand as the Deceased?s Next of Kin.
You will be entitle to 40% of the total sum as your share,
10% will be mapped out to offset any expenses both parties
might make during the course of this transaction while 50%
will be for me.
If you wish to deal, do provide me with the following
1. Your full names
2. Tel & fax numbers
3. Complete Address
4. Your occupation and your Age.
Again, I shall provide you with more detailed information
upon hearing from you through this my private email address:
Barrister Richard Walker.