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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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)
- "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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: George Williams <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2022 18:26:23 +0100
Subject: HAPPY NEW YEAR !
HAPPY NEW YEAR !
It is obvious that this letter will come to you as a surprise but
please find time to read it carefully; I am Barrister George Williams
(Esq), a legal practitioner. Before I proceed, I must apologize
for this spontaneous email to you. I am aware that this is certainly
not a conservative way of approach to establish a relationship of
trust, but you will realize the need for my action. First, I must
solicit your confidence in this proposal; this is by the nature of it
as being utterly confidential or top secret. I have a business
proposal which I believe will be a very good opportunity for both
of us, so I decided to contact you on the business.
The business is this: A deceased client of mine died during a plane
crash dated 24 July 2014 as you can see or confirm through the
websites (BBC NEWS) herewith.
He was a real estate moguls, he died with on the plane crash with his
wife and kids leaving behind a deposit valued funds of Five Million,
Three Hundred Thousand US Dollars (US$5,300,000.00) in one of the
leading banks here, and the bank had contacted me on many occasions
over the past years to present the supposed Next of kin/relative to my
This fund has lasted more than the projected period in the Bank
security vault, and the Bank has issued me a final notice to present
the next of kin to my late client or the account will be declared
unserviceable or confiscated by the Bank treasury due to the ongoing
Bank reform here.
So far, all my efforts to get a hold of someone related to him has
proved abortive, and the bank cannot release the funds direct to me
unless somebody applies for it as next of kin to the account as
indicated in the banking guidelines. So since I have contacted you, I
am actually asking for your consent to present your information to the
Bank as the Next of Kin to my late client as the recipient of the
funds, so that the proceeds of this account can be released to you.
Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one
apprehensive and worried. But I am assuring you that; all the legal
documentations to back up the claim as my client's next of kin, I
shall provide, all I require from you is your honest cooperation to
enable us achieve this goal. I am convinced that the intended
transaction is 100% risk free, that you should not entertain any atom
of fear, the fact is that I just donât want my late client funds to be
declared as unclaimed funds by the Bank management or confiscated
by the government, as a result of the new Bank reform which all the
Banks here will soon start to implement.
Therefore, it is upon this discovery that I decided to contact you on
this business, and I wish to point out that I will want 20% of this
money to be shared among charity Organizations, while the remaining
80% will be shared equally between us. I will use my position as the
clientâs attorney to guarantee the successful execution of this
Meanwhile, upon your response, I shall provide you with more details
about the transaction; also you should understand that this should be
kept very confidential. I guarantee that this transaction will be
executed and completed within 7 working days and with lawful process
and arrangement that will protect you and me from any breach of the
Finally, if this business proposal offends your moral ethics, please
do accept my sincere apology, or if on the contrary you wish to
achieve this goal with me, kindly get back to me with your interest
for further details via my private email ID underneath.
George Williams (Esq.)