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. )
- "confidentiality of this transaction" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2011 01:24:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: FROM MRS. SUSAN SHABANGU
FROM MRS. SUSAN SHABANGU
MINISTER OF MINING
let me introducing myself. I am MRS SUSAN SHABANGU, a mother of three children
and the Minister of Mining of the Republic of South Africa since May 2009. To
date under the auspices of the new President of South Africa MR
JACOB ZUMA. After
due deliberation with my children, I decided to contact you for your assistance
in standing as a beneficiary to the sum of US$30.5M. (You
can view my profile at my website www.gov.za click
on, Contac t Information, then click on Minister, and click on mining finally,
click on my name Susan
read about me. Or click on the below linkhttp://www.info.gov.za/leaders/ministers/mining.htm and read about me. THIS PROPOSAL,
After the swearing in ceremony making me the Minister of Safety & Security
UNDER FORMER REGIME, my
husband Mr. Ndebele Shabangu died while he was on an official trip to Trinidad
and Tobago in
1996.After his death, I discovered that he had some funds in a dollar account
which amounted to the sum of US$30.5M with a security company in South Africa of
which I will divulge information to you when I get your full consent and support
to go for a change of beneficiary and subsequent transfer of the funds into you
a comfortable and conducive account of your choice. This fund emanated as a
result of an over-invoiced contract which
he executed with the Government of South Africa .
Though I assisted him in getting this contract but I never knew that it was
over-invoiced by him. I am afraid that the government of
South Africa might start to
investigate on contracts awarded from 1990 to date.If they
discover this money in his bank account, they will confiscate it and seize his
assets here in South Africa and this will
definitely affect my political career in, government. I want your assistance in
opening an account with bankers through my banker so that this fund could be
wired into your account directly without any hitch. I am offering you 20% of
the principal sum and 5% will be for any expenses that both of us may Insure in
this transaction. And another 5% will
go for Motherless babes home. However, you have to assure me and also be ready
to go into agreement with me that you will not elope with my fund. If you agree
to my terms, kindly as a matter of urgency send me an emailon (firstname.lastname@example.org) For
securityreason,contact my Son Mr. Smith Shabangu on his telephone number (+27-788342283) and he will detail
you on how the money can be transferred into your account.Please I do not need
to remind you of the need for absolute
Confidentiality of this transaction.
Mrs. Susan Shabangu
Minister of Mining
South Africa since