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:
- "any lucrative business in your country" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Shermila Musa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2011 00:56:03 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Important please,
I'm SHERMILA MUSA the Daughter of Late Mr(MOHHAMED MUSA)who was killed during this recent political cirsis in Ivoiry coast my country as you can read it over the CNN NEWS and BBC NEWS. MY Late father was former president of Vanco Energy Company in Ivory Coast. before his sudden death my late father told me that he has a deposit of $7.5 million US dollars in a bank which i will tell you about all give me all your details upon your respond.
I would like to invest this fund in any lucrative business in your country due to the fact that we do not have fair investment opportunities because of the frequent political crises. I am the beneficiary of Seven Million five huandred thousand dollars ($7.5 million US Dollars) left behind by my late father and I will want to invest it in a suitable environment having you as my guidance and partner.
Would you be in position to guide me towards this noble project, I will appreciate to have you as my trusted partner to invest and manage this fund. Kindly provide me with your telephone number and bio data to enable us discuss about it as I have urgent intention of transferring the fund out of Cote D' Ivoire.