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)
- "million 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: Richard Cullen <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 30 May 2021 20:54:03 +0200
ATTORNEY AT LAW & SOLICITORS
301 William Nicole Road Sandton.
Johannesburg, Republic Of South Africa
It is with trust and sincerity that I approach you for assistance to
transfer some funds into your bank account. Please do accept my apology if
my mail infringes on your personal ethics. My name is Richard Cullen, a
Private attorney based here in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa.
Honestly it will be my humble pleasure if we can work together.
I would like you to act as the next of kin to my deceased client Mr. Glenn
Warrington, an American citizen who made a deposit of $23,500,000.00 ($23.5
Million Dollars) with a Bank here in Johannesburg. He died in a car
accident on the 20th of November 2009 without any registered next of kin.
Several efforts were made to find his extended family through your embassy
I have received an official letter from the bank suggesting a likely
proceeding for confiscation of the Fund in line with existing laws by the
bank in which my client deposited the sum of $23.5 Million Dollars.
According to the Government Law here, at the expiration of 12 years the
fund will revert to the ownership of the South African Government, if
nobody applies to claim the fund.
My proposition to you is to present you to the bank as the Next of kin to
my late client so that the bank will pay this $23.5 Million Dollars to you
as his beneficiary so that we can share the amount on a mutually agreed
percentage of 60% for me 40% for you.
All legal documents to back up your claim will be provided by me. All I
require is your honest cooperation to enable us to see this transaction
through. I will also guarantee you that this will be executed under a
legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law
here or in your country.
Your immediate response will be highly appreciated.
Thank you and God bless
Advocate Richard Cullen
Principal Attorney: Richard & Co Associates.
Direct Telephone: +277612051720