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. )
- "million us 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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Aarif Anasha <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009 17:38:10 +0000
I thank you for taking the time to read this mail. My name is HAJIAH ANASHA AARIF; from Diamond rich country district of Bombali in Northern Province of Sierra Leone. I am the widow of the Late ALHAJ HANBAL AARIF, the managing director of Sierra Leone diamond mining co-operation. I got your contact through my research on the internet for a trust worthy person.
Anyway, I am about to entrust my destiny and the destiny of my whole dependants on your shoulder if you can help us, it will also be of immense benefit to you too.
This transaction demands utmost trust, honesty, and most important, secrecy. It is only through the above that my family and I will be assured of our security. This regrettable situation led to the killing of my husband and my only daughter.
During the brutal civil war in my country Sierra Leone, my late husband of blessed memory was brutally murdered by the rebels led by Mr. Foday Sankoh, he was murdered with my only daughter (Nina). But my two sons and I managed to escape, through the help of the INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE (IRC).
But before my late husband's death, he drew my attention to a box containing about Twenty million US dollars ($20 Million) which he smuggled out at the start of the war to a security company in Ghana for investment, (The security company does not know the real contents of the box. He registered it in the name of my son Abdullah Aarif as family art and monuments. The problem I have is that as a refugee, the immigration law does not allow us to open or hold operate bank account in London and I do not want to seek the assistance of just anybody for fear of being duped or defraud of our only livelihood.
What is required of you is to give us your full name and contact address so that I can secure a Power of Attorney in your favor that would enable you contact the security company as the beneficiary of the box.
You can then transfer the funds to your bank account after the box must have been released to you. In order to make it worth your while, we will give you 20% of the money. We have also map out 5% of the principal sum for any expenses that you may incurred during the transaction process including traveling expenses, we intend to invest the remaining part of the money on your advice in any viable business ventures in your country.
If you want to help, you can contact my son Abdullah Aarif through this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am looking forward to your quick response, May ALLAH bless you.
HAJIAH ANASHA AARIF.