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:
- ",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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Mr. Eric Freeman" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2010 20:43:19 +1000 (EST)
Subject: Hello From Mr. Eric Freeman
Mr Eric Freeman
32 Sliveway Melvin
Johannesburg, South Africa
In line with Governments commitment to transform the public sector, The
South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL) was established in April
1998 by an Act of Parliament as an independent statutory company operating
along commercial lines and at arms length from Government. SANRAL
harnesses more than 600 person years of core skills and experience in road
development and management within a highly motivated, professional and
passionate team of people operating out of its (Pretoria) head office.
I am Mr. Eric Freeman, the Director of Contract Award and Procurement
Commission (CAPCOM) to the Republic of South Africa. I and the Chairman of
(CAPCOM) (Mr.Joseph Clark) are confidentially requesting for your consent
to transfer a deliberate OVER-INVOICED sum of US$14,500,000.00m. Of Multi
Billion Dollars Contract awarded to foreign firms in preparation of this
year 2010 Fifa Football World Cup to be hosted by South Africa.
This is to use your name/particulars LEGALLY transfer the said fund which
we deliberately inflated/over-estimated during the contract we awarded
some months Ago for our personal benefit. Hence we have decided to invest
and re-settle outside the South Africa.
If interested, send me an email so I can give you the full details and I
have the deposit document in my possession.
I await your urgent reply.
Mr Eric Freeman