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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "inheritance funds" (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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "barrister" (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 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: Wilson Themba <email@example.com>
Private Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 0027 785983963/+27 785983963
CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS PROPOSAL
It is with trust and sincerity that I approach you for assistance to
transfer some funds into your bank account. Please do accept my
apology if my mail infringes on your personal ethics. My name is
Barrister Wilson Themba, Private Lawyer based here in Johannesburg
South Africa. Honestly it will be my humble pleasure if we can work
I would like you to act as the next of kin to my deceased client
Mr.Kurtz Petersen, a German citizen who made a deposit of
US$35.7Million only with a Bank here in Johannesburg a few years back.
He died in a plane crash with his immediate family without any
registered next of kin and as such the funds now have an open
beneficiary mandate with the Bank. This means that any person from
your country can act as the next of kin and claim the inheritance
funds without any risk.
I have received an official letter from the bank suggesting a likely
proceeding for confiscation of the Fund in line with existing laws by
the bank in which my client deposited the sum of US$35.7 Million
Dollars. According to the Government Law as provided in section 129
sub 63(N), South African Banking Edit of 1961 at the expiration of 11
years the fund will revert to the ownership of the South African
Government, if nobody applies to claim the fund.
My proposition to you is to present you to the bank as the Next of kin
and beneficiary of my deceased client so that the bank will pay this
US$35.7 million to you for us to share the amount on a mutually agreed
percentage of 60% for me 40% for you.
All legal documents to back up your claim as the deceased Next of Kin
will be provided by me. 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.
If you are interested in these transactions, Please do let me know
immediately so that I can give you comprehensive details on how to
proceed. On my private email: email@example.com
Barrister Wilson Themba
Private Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone : 0027 785983963/+27 785983963