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:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned 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: EDITH JOHNSON <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 15 May 2010 09:10:38 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: FROM MISS EDITH URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL
FROM MISS EDITH URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL
My Dear Good Friend,
This is with pleasure, honour and respect that I am bringing this business proposal to you and with hope it will be for a mutual benefit to both of us. And hoping that you will not let down the trust I am about to repose on you. I am Miss Edith Johnson, the Second child of late Mr Harrison Johnson, a full time and known contractor within west Africa, some time on the 10th of July 2004, he and my junior brother took a trip to Europe and America for a business negotiation and investments but as events can be, unfortunately they are among more than 200 persons aboard Sudan Airways "Boeing 737" that crashed on 12th Aug 2004 on its way from New York to Cairo.
That's how we lost my beloved once to death, but the most heart breaking is after about six months, my beloved and caring mother died of hypertension in a hospital here in Abidjan. My dear late mother knowing as if she's going to die discloses to me all the plans of my late father's journey with my junior brother to America, at this point, she told me that my late father deposited 18.5 Million USD in a bank here in Abidjan CÃ´te dâIvoire.
Continuing her advice, she warned that I 25 years and my junior brother 22 years must make sure we still look for a good foreign partner who will assist us well in seeing that we transfer and invest this money abroad as that has been my late father's aim before his death. To that, I am writing to you for your honourable and kind assistance plus your full consideration to see that this our only lively hope is transferred into your account and country for investment.
Now, once you assure me of your interest to help me as I requested, then you should give me the go ahead order to start the arrangements for the transferring out of the money to the account you might be nominated abroad. For that, your full assurance is highly needed not to drop me on a half way. For your interest to assist me transfer this our money to your account and country for investment, I will like to give you 20 % of the whole money and strongly promise to map out another 5 % for all sundry expenses you might incure during the transaction is over.
Among all, the most important thing is for you to be aiding us as parent who will be directing all our affairs and doings in your country. Lastly, you will promise me that you will not betray or deny us if this our money gets into your hands, bank and country. After I make sure that the money has got to you, I and my junior brother will now visit you and your country for investment and living, it's here I will also like you to do some business researches and inform us both the conditions or a foreigner to invest in your country.
Waiting for your urgent reply
Thanks for your full anticipated co-operation.
Miss Edith Johnson.