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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "million united state 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)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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: Fehiman Johnson <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2020 23:00:08 +0200
Subject: Immediate transfer of $23.5 Million Dollars to you
No,301 William Nicole Road Sandton,
Republic Of South Africa.
I am Fehiman Johnson, a South Africa citizen and also the personal
attorney to one Mr. Glenn Warrington, a citizen of your country, who
was a farmer here in South Africa and a consultant with Shell oil and
gas South Africa (Pty) who shall be referred to as my client.
Unfortunately my client lost his life during the Xenophobia Attacks
in South Africa 2016. And left no clear beneficiary as Next of Kin
except some vital documents related to the deposit still with me. All
efforts by me to trace his Next of Kin proved abortive because he did
not make any will prior to his death. Since then I have made several
inquiries to locate any of my late clients extended relatives and this
has proved unsuccessful. After my several unsuccessful attempts to
locate any member of his family hence I contacted you. My intention of
contacting you is to assist in claiming the fund left behind by my
client before they get confiscated or in other words seized or
declared unclaimed by the Bank where this huge deposit was deposited.
Particularly, the bank where the deceased had the said fund valued at
US$ 23.500, 000.00 (twenty Three Million Five Hundred Thousand United
State Dollars) has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin.
Consequent upon this, my idea is that we can have a deal/agreement and
I am going to do this legally with your name as the bonafide
beneficiary of the amount in question as I have all legal document to
back our claim, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin
to the Bank so that the proceeds of this account valued at $23.500.000
Million United State Dollars can be paid to your account abroad, note
that 40% of this money will be for you, in respect to the provision of
a foreign account and 57% for me, 3% will be used for the
reimbursement of any expenditure we may incur in the cause of the
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement
that will protect you from any breach of the law; all I need from you
is your utmost Collaboration and sincerity for us to thrive in this
deal. Get back to me firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP for further advice
if you are interested in this proposed partnership. However, if you
are not interested please do keep me informed as well so I can proceed
further with my search. This is urgent matter kindly respond to me
Barrister Fehiman Johnson.