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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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)
- "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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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.)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Ronald Scott <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2022 04:59:10 -0700
Subject: Private Mail
From: Barrister Ronald Scott
Ronald Scott & Associates
I am Barrister Ronald Scott, Private Attorney to my late client. I
have an urgent and very profitable business proposal for you that
should be handled with extreme confidentiality. I know this proposal
will come to you as a surprise for the fact that we have not met
before believing that a transaction of this magnitude will make anyone
apprehensive or worried but I can assure you with utmost sincerity my
heart that you will not regret being part of this mutual business
transaction. My deceased client, name withheld, a citizen of yours
country whom herein shall be referred to as my client, made a number
of fixed deposits valued at US$15.5 Million Dollars (Fifteen Million,
Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only at one of America's
finest top banks.
My client was a businessman, consultant, and contractor with several
Oil and Gas Petroleum Companies. Upon maturity of these fixed
deposits, the financial institution in which this fund was deposited
sent a routine notification in accordance with the banks policy to his
forwarding address but got no reply. After months they sent a reminder
and copied my chambers this time, it was then that I notified the
financial institution that my client, his wife and their son died in
the Pilatus PC-12/47E carrying the registration YR-PDV plane crash
where everyone on board died.
It was later that the financial institution informed me that it was
fixed deposit has matured. My late client died without making a Will
and all attempts to trace any of his relations were unsuccessful,
being that he died along with his wife and only son who was his next
his deposit paperwork with the bank.
This sum of US$15.5 million I understand was kept with the bank for
safekeeping to enable him to have direct and immediate access to the
funds for a contract that he intended to execute.
My proposal to you is to seek your consent to present you as the valid
next of kin and sole beneficiary of my deceased client estate as you
bear the same last name so that the proceeds of this account valued at
US$15.5 million can be paid to you, so we can share the amount on a
mutually agreed percentage of 60% for me and 35% for you while 5% will
be mapped out to offset whatever expenses we might incur in making
this business a successful one.
All legal documents to back up your claim as the deceased's next of
kin will be provided through the issuing government agencies here in
All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us to see this
transaction through. I guarantee you that this will be executed under
a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the
law. A business agreement shall be drawn up by both parties to avoid
any sharing issues.
You're most urgent response will be highly appreciated to avoid making
Barrister Ronald Scott.