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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: Frank Mokoena <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2010 00:42:03 +0900
Subject: GOODDAY, ASSISTANCE NEEDED
>From the Desk of Mr. Frank Mokoena
Director of Project
Mining and Energy
Republic of South Africa
Tel: +27 760 869 337
I am Mr. Frank Mokoena Director of Project, South Africa Department of Minerals and Energy. I am making this contact with you based on the Committee need for an individual/company who is willing to assist us with a solution to a money transfer.
This amount $21.5m represents the balance of the total contract Value Executed on behalf of Department by a foreign contracting firm, which we the officials over-invoiced deliberately, of which the actual sum has been paid, leaving the excess balance unclaimed.
Since the present elected Government is determined to pay foreign contractors all debts owed, so as to maintain good relationship with foreign governments and non-government agencies, we included our bills for approvals with the Department of Finance and the South Africa Reserve Bank (SARB).
We are seeking your assistance to front as beneficiary of the unclaimed funds, since we are not allowed to operate foreign accounts.
Should you be willing to assist us in the transaction? Your share of the sum will be 25% of the $21.5million, 70% for us and 5% for taxation and miscellaneous expenses.
If you wish to help please reply as soon as possible.
Thanks for your co-operation