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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "the diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "former president of liberia" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "liberia" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "Abia" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 6 May 2010 22:28:13 +0800
Subject: Eluchi Mark Abia (ESQ) Greetings to you...
I know that this letter will come to you as a surprise considering the
fact that we have not met before.
My name is MR,ELUCHI MARK ABIA.I am a personal attorney (LAWYER) to the
former president of Liberia (Charles McArthur Taylor) who is currently
on trial for war crimes Charges in Hague (The Netherland.)
I am truly looking for someone that will assist me
with a business that has to do with a large amount of Money which was
deposited in a security company abroad.
I got your contact over the internet during my search for a person that
will assist me in this business. This became necessary as i do not want
anybody known to me or my family to be associated with this money for security reasons
which i will disclose to you later.
I want you to note that this business will benefit both of us and that it
is 100% risk free.However,you must confirm your ability to handle this
because it involves a large amount of money.
(TWENTY-FIVE MILLION,FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS)
is what is involved.
This Funds was boxed and shipped to a security company abroad at the peak of a
political uprising that rocked my country(LIBERIA) few years ago.
which has landed my boss,(Charles McArthur Taylor)in the Hague
facing charges for crime against humanity.
I need a trustworthy person to proceed to the place of the security company in
order to claim the fund and afterwards,I will come to join you in your country
and we will start a joint business venture as i do not have the intention of
bringing the funds back to Africa.
All I need from you is as follows:
1. your confirmation of your ability to handle this business for me.
2. Your word that you will keep this business as
confidential as possible at all times until we conclude this business.
3. Your telephone and fax numbers for communication.
4. Your full permanent address.
As soon as I get the above information from you, I will disclose to you.
the name and the country of the security company, the contact of the
Diplomat that i have hired to assist us in this business, as well as your
Name and particulars to the security company as my representative and
my partner to enable them contact you accordingly.
I am Currently residing in Burkina Faso(A small Country in West African Coast)
As we make progress,I will give to you "SOME CODE NUMBERS" to enable
you claim the fund on my behalf.
I await your response to enable us proceed.
Eluchi Mark Abia (ESQ)