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)
- "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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: KATE BARON <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2022 18:18:18 +0200
Subject: PLEASE I NEED YOUR COLLABORATION
54 Doughty Street
London, WC1N 2LS
DX: 223 Chancery Lane.
I am the personal attorney to Robert Fitzpatrick, an American who was a
consultant with Shell UK LTD London, who shall be referred to as my
client. Unfortunately my client died on Boeing Egypt Air Flight 990, which
crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on October 31st, 1999 and left no clear
heir 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 client's extended relatives and this has
proved unsuccessful. After my several unsuccessful attempts to locate any
of his family hence I contacted you.
I am contacting you to assist in claiming the fund 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 11M dollars has issued
me a notice to provide the next of kin.
Consequent upon this, my idea is that we can have an agreement and I am
going to do this legally with your name as the bona fide heir of the amount
in question as I have all valid documents 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 $11M USD can be paid to your account
abroad, note that 40% of this fund goes to your side, in respect to the
provision of a foreign account and 50% for me, 10% will be used for the
reimbursement of any expenditure we may incur in the cause of the
I assure you 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 transaction.
Kindly Get back to me if you are ready to assist me.
Barr. Kate Baron.