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:
- ",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.)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "Watson Williams" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 1 May 2020 16:31:19 -0700
Subject: This Is Our Last Notice to You
Watson, Farley & Williams LLP
Solicitor, Advocate and Notary Public Office:
15 APPOLD STREET, LONDON, EC2A 2HB, ENGLAND
This Is Our Last Notice to You
We wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary to
the total sum of US$ 50,000,000.00 Dollars in the intent of the
deceased(name now withheld since this is our second letter to you).
We contacted you because you bear the surname identity and therefore
can present you as the beneficiary to the inheritance since there is no
written will. Our legal services aim to provide our private clients
with a complete service. We are happy to prepare Wills, set-up and
administer Trusts, carry out the Administration Of Estates and prepare
and administer Powers Of Attorney.
All the papers will be processed in your acceptance. In your acceptance
of this deal, we request that you kindly forward your letter of
acceptance your current telephone and fax numbers and a forwarding
address to enable us file necessary documents at our high court probate
division for the release of this sum of money in your favour.