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:
- "million united states 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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "barr." (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 mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "Barr. William Ekwueme James" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 2021 15:08:26 +0100
Subject: FROM BARRISTER WILLIAM E. JAMES..
Firstly, I must solicit your confidence in this transaction, this is by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and top secret. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make anyone apprehensive and worried, I am assuring you that all will be well at the end of the day.
Let me start by first introducing myself properly to you. Though it may surprise you receiving this letter from me, since there was no previous correspondence between us. My name is William Ekwueme James. Esq. a personal Attorney to Late Mr. Emmanuel William. My purpose of contacting you is for you to help secure the funds left behind by my late client, to avoid it being confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Bank Where this fund valued (Thirty Five Million United States Dollars Only) deposited by my client before his death.
This Bank has issued me a notice to contact the next of kin or the account will be declared unserviceable and the fund diverted to the Bank treasury, so far all my efforts to get a hold of someone related to this man has proved abortive. Hence, I have contacted you. I am actually asking for your consent to present you to the Bank as the Next of Kin/beneficiary of my late client's fund, so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to your account.
All the legal documentations to back up your claim as my client's Next of Kin I shall provide them. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us achieve this transaction.
I wish to point out that I want 10% of this money to be shared among the charity organizations, while the remaining 90% is shared equally between us. This proposition is entirely risk free. I will use my position as the clientâs attorney to guarantee the successful execution of this transaction. If you are interested, please contact me via with this line +22967635194 or Email: (firstname.lastname@example.org) upon your response, I shall then provide you with more details and relevant documents that will help you understand this transaction well.
The intended transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any infraction of the law. However, if this business proposition offends your moral ethics, do accept my sincere apology. If on the contrary you wish to achieve this goal with me, kindly get back to me with your interest for further explanation.
Barr. William Ekwueme James