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:
- "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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Bethanie Lee" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 16 May 2022 22:54:25 -0700
Subject: GOOD DAY TO YOU,
GOOD DAY TO YOU,
I know you might be surprised when this email gets to you
. I barely know you but i wish to entrust some
responsibilities to you.My name is Mrs. Bethanie Veronica
Lee; I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I
have to you/church. I am 59 years old and I was diagnosed
with Esophageal Cancer for about two years, immediately
fter the death of my husband, who has left me everything
he worked for. He owned an import/export company which
operated in the UK, west Africa and in china I have been
touched by God to donate from what I have inherited from
my late husband to you for the good work of God, rather
than allow my relatives to use my husband hard earned
funds ungodly, since we had no kids to inherit them.
Please pray that the good Lord forgive me my sins. I have
asked God to forgive me and I believe He has because He
is a merciful God. I will be going in for an operation in
less than a month and I'll want you to stand as the
beneficiary to the account of my late husband in the
United Kingdom and in Africa. Also to the motherless and
less privilege and also for the assistance of the widows.
You would be entitled to 20% of all the funds which are
deposited in bank/finance house in the United Kingdom and
in Africa. The remaining 80% will be used to set up a
foundation in my husband's name, which will be used to
help the less privileged. At the moment I cannot take any
telephone calls due to the fact that my relatives are
around me and my health status.
Please contact my lawyers in charge of the funds and they
will arrange the transfer of the funds from my account to
your preferred account as you would be the beneficiary to
Pls. Contact my lawyer in London,
Barrister Anthony Berry with the specified address:
CHAMBERS OF ANTHONY BERRY
BARRISTER ANTHONY BERRY
9 BEDFORD ROW LONDON WC1R 4AZ
TELL: +44 745 128 3450
Fax: +44 700 580 0051
There are above 20 million dollars deposited in
banks/finance houses in the UK as well as in Africa.
Please use your share of the funds well and always extend
the good work to others.
Please tell him that I have asked you to reach him. This
is my private email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
God blesses you.
Mrs. Bethanie Lee.