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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Simone Gbagbo" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2011 18:27:01 -0800
Subject: MUTUAL TRUST NEEDED.
From Mrs Simone Gbagbo
Abidjan Cote D, Voire.
I am writing you this letter in great anticipation and hope that, this will form the bedrock of a good relationship between your very good self and my family. I am Mrs. Simone Gbagbo,wife of the incumbent president of the republic of Ivory. My apology contacting you via this medium, the reason been that with the looming political situation in my country, I decided it was safer and faster to contact you via email and to avoid interception of this letter by postal agent loyal to the opposition.
Following the 2010 November 28th, presidential election in my country, my husband was declared winner by the Constitution Court (Council), The opposition with the support of the US, FRANCE, UK, UNITED NATION, have refuse to concede the result of the election.
Ecowas have threatened to remove my husband from office via ( coup d' etat) code name: Legitimate Force. The west have also threaten to cease my husband asset, frozen his bank account both at home and abroad. Now you are reading this letter some of my husband account and assets has been seized and frozen already. It is with this regard I am contacting you to help us secure the sum of Ninety four million United States Of American dollars (US$94M) only, deposited with a foreign bank unknown to anyone that this account belongs to my family. All that we need is a trusted reliable person like you, who we can entrust and present as the beneficiary for the release of this deposit into your personal or designated bank account and to invest the money in a good business venture in your country.
Please note: this transaction is free from all possible hitch and a 100% risk free transaction. For your assistance we have decided to offer you 25% of the entire sum, my husband and I have also agreed to be responsible, settle and reimbursed any miscellaneous expenditures in the cause of this transaction. Should you are interested in this proposal, kindly respond promptly indicating your willingness to begin action immediately via the allocated mailing address.
In addition to the above, evidence of this story can be view on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12229788. We value your time and dedication to our request and look forward to hearing from you promptly in great anticipation.
Mrs. Simone Gbagbo.