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"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:

Fraud email example:

From: "Adrian Woods" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2019 18:24:39 +0200
Subject: Important Update.

How are you today? I wrote you a couple emails which you did not respond. I hope this piece of information reaches you in good health/ state of mind. My name is Adrian Woods.
I am an independent consultant. I live in Palm Coast, Florida. If at any point, you are not comfortable with what Iím about to tell you, feel free to decline. I do apologize if it does not meet up with professional ethics.
At this point, If youíre still reading, I can trust you understand the confidentiality of what we are about to do. I came across an investor with the Intracoastal Bank in Florida who might be a relative, he died 4 years ago and his investment account has been dormant.
Since the death of the late investor, the Bank has made several inquiries to locate any of his extended family members or relatives but this has proven unsuccessful. Banks strive on this, they donít look hard enough for relatives of late clients with large sums of money in their accounts; they claim to be waiting for a relative to come while they keep the money for themselves.
I am contacting you as you might be a relative because you share the same last name with the late client. I do not know you and I do not know if you are related or not but the bank intends to close this account but with my help, you will get the inheritance transferred to you as his relative.
The essence of this communication with you is to request that you provide me information/comments on any or all of the three issues as regards nominating you to inherit the fund left behind by this client.
1) Are you aware of any relative/relation born on the 2nd of February 1951, who bears your same surname whose last known contact address was Kiev, Ukraine?
2) Are you aware of any investment of considerable value made by such a person at the Intracostal Bank?
3) Can you confirm your willingness to accept this inheritance if you are legally and legitimately appointed.
It is pertinent that you inform me ASAP whether or not you are familiar with this personality or and your interest towards the issues mentioned.
You must appreciate that I am constrained from providing you with more detailed information at this point. I will provide you with additional information upon receipt of your response so we can finish the process of nominating you to inherit his wealth.
I await your response.
Thank you.
Adrian Woods

Anti-fraud resources: