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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: Mr Eric Smith <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2020 03:23:56 -0700
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam
I am Eric Smith and work with Smith and Associates Real Estate, Tampa
Florida. We have a deceased client who died and left a huge estate, he
bears the same surname with you.
Since his death I have received several letters from the Bank where he
deposited the fund before his death, to provide his next of kin or any of
his relatives who can make claim to the funds before the end of the year or
the Bank will be left with no option than to confiscate the fund and turn
the money back to the state as it has been marked unclaimed. I have
conducted my personal search to see if I can make contact with any of his
relatives but without success, it is in the course of my effort that I have
to contact you.
I have closely checked and since you bear the same surname with my deceased
client it will be better to present you as the next of kin and the right
beneficiary of the funds in the account. I will provide you with all the
necessary legal backing that is required until this money is paid out to
you, and then we shall share it based on our agreement.
Do respond quick if you are interested or should you need further
clarification because we have no much time left also In view of this you
are hereby instructed to contact me immediately you read this message at
Smith and Associates
Tampa Florida U.S.A