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:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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: Ann William <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 2010 12:53:12 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: FROM MIS ANN WILLIAM,
FROM MIS ANN WILLIAM,
In a brief introduction,
I am Ann William (19 years) the only surviving child of late Dr. Anthony William. I am in possesion of some documents covering the deposit of US$7.3 Million (Seven million, three hundred thousand US dollars) which my late father deposited in one bank in Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire. I have verified the transaction with the bank here and it's authencity is clear. This fund is of no criminal origin as it was realised from sales of the alluvial gold dust.
I am soliciting for your kind assistance in retrieving and claiming this fund from the bank here as my father's business associate and have it transferred to your account in your country for investment. You will also serve as the guardian to this fund as i'm not at all knowledgeable in the international business world. I will give you further details as soon as I hear from you, and we will discuss terms and percentage subsequently but you must treat highly confidentail.
I await for your response.
Ms. Ann William.