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)
- "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.)
- "barr." (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: Barrister Alfred Howard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 19 May 2022 15:46:53 +0800
Subject: Dear Friend
With Due Respect, I am Barrister Alfred Howard, Attorney at law.A deceased
client of mine who died in Plane crash along side with his family. You can
confirm view : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19754351
I have contacted you to assist in distributing the money left behind by my
late client(US$18,750,000.00) Eighteen Million Seven Hundred and Fifty
thousand United States Dollars is lodged in the bank. Take note is 100%
risk free and It is expected that upon the receipt of your acceptance, this
transaction will be concluded within 7 Banking days and the money will be
paid into your account
Barr.Alfred Howard (Esq)
(Attorney at Law)