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:
- "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 us 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)
- "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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: KATE BARON <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2021 23:36:35 +0800
Subject: PLEASE I NEED YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE
54 Doughty Street
London, WC1N 2LS
DX: 223 Chancery Lane.
Attn: Sir, / Madam,
I am the personal attorney to Robert Fitzpatrick, an American who was a
consultant with Shell UK LTD here in London, who shall be referred to as my
client. Unfortunately my client lost his life on Boeing Egypt Air Flight
990, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on October 31st, 1999 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.
I am contacting you to assist in claiming the money left behind by my
client before they get confiscated or declared unclaimed by the security
company where this huge deposit was deposited. Particularly, the finance
company where the deceased had the said fund valued at USD 11 Million
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 deceased so that the
proceeds of this account valued at $11 Million US 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 50% for me, and then the
remaining 10% will be use for the reimbursement of any expenditure we may
incur in the cause of the transaction.
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 through this address (email@example.com)
if you are ready to assist me.