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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Leon Uddi" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2009 11:19:34 +0000
Subject: Please I need your assistance
You may be surprised to receive this letter since you don't know me personally. I am Mr. Leon Uddi, the son of Alexander Uddi who was murdered in the land dispute in Zimbabwe. I got your contact through the South African Information Exchange (S.A.I.E) and I decided to write for assistance.
My late Father was among those black Zimbabwean farmers murdered in cold blood by the agents of the ruling government of President Robert Mugabe, for his alleged support and sympathy for the Zimbabwean opposition party controlled by the whites. Before my fathers death, he had taken me to the Republic of South Africa to deposit the sum of US$13.5M (Thirteen Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) with a security company here in South Africa, as if he saw the looming danger in Zimbabwe. The money was deposited in a security company as a diplomatic luggage this is to avoid seizure.
This money was meant for maintenance and procurement of new farms in a neighboring country to South Africa call Mozambique, and land problem arose when President Robert Mugabe, introduced a new land act, which wholly affected the rich farmers, and some few blacks eventually vehemently condemned the modus operand adopted by the government, and this resulted to rampant killing and mob actions by the veterans of some political thugs.
I have decided not to invest this fund in the Republic of South Africa based on my refugee status, as asylum seeker for the fear of seizure and encountering the same experience in future, since both countries have almost the same political history, more so the South African exchange policy does not allow person of my status for such investment, hence I am an asylum seeker. As matter of fact, I have been looking for a trustworthy person I should entrust my future and that of my family on his hands.
At this junction, if you accept to assist me in accomplish this transaction, I am willing to accept any reasonable condition you may deem necessary, and I can as well go into partnership business with you.
Please reply immediately to facilitate action toward the transaction.
Mr. Leon Uddi.