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:
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Thomas Ferguson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 6 Nov 2021 00:15:52 -0700
Subject: RE:NEXT OF KIN NEEDED
RE:NEXT OF KIN NEEDED
I sent you this letter some time ago but I'm not sure if you got it, my
name is Thomas Ferguson, Personal attorney to my late client, an Oil and
Gas Contractor who died of a heart attack in 2013. He has a good deposit
with a certain Bank, and he died without any registered next of kin as he
was long divorced and had no child. Presently, the Bank is requesting that
I provide my late clients next of kin as his lawyer.
I decided to contact you so we can strike a smooth deal, knowing that you
have the same last name as my late client. Please contact me for more
I look forward to your reply.