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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: UCHE WILLIAM <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2022 11:42:40 +0100
Subject: FROM UCHE WILLIAM ESQ
My name is Barrister Uche William. of UCHE WILLIAM law firm Nigeria.
I have a client (a contractor) who executed a contract for Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. This corporation control and
manages the petroleum industry in the country. This my client, Mr. Yu
Wang, an Asian and two of his colleagues died through air crash on
June 6, 2012 in Lagos Nigeria which claimed the lives of all
passengers and crew, 153 in all perished.
The crashed Dana air line had reg. Mark. 5N-RAM. His contract number
is NNPC/FGN/0431/PH/REF/2011 and the amount is USD35.5M. This contract
is turn around maintenance of Port Harcourt refinery Nigeria. He had
received his fund after commissioning of the project and securely
parked USD25,500,000.00 in Access Bank, PLC., with all documents
firmly kept in my chamber hoping to travel back from Abuja to pick
up the funds before his tragic death.
I have searched for his next of kin to hand him over the documents but
to no avail. I therefore seek your permission to use you as the next
of kin to Mr. Yu Wang, and I will legally transfer the next of kinship
to you, with all documents changed to your name as the rightful
beneficiary of this fund.
I will give you more detail information about the fund in Access bank
you how to apply and claim the fund. If you are interested, I need your full
name, address and telephone numbers. Sharing shall be 70% for us here,
30% for you. We also intend to reinvest our share in your country on
your advice on a better venture.
Kindly view the site of the plane crash,
Please reply as quickly as you can if you are interested.
Barrister Uche William