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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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. Maite Nkoana Mashabane" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 16 May 2011 23:22:14 +0100
Subject: Your Kind Reply Needed
Your Kind Consideration To My Proposal
I decided to contact you for your assistance in standing as a beneficiary to the sum of US$3.5M ( Three Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) First, let me start by introducing myself, I am Maite Nkoana M. Mashabane, Ms. a mother of three children and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation. under the President of South Africa Mr.Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, Please view my profile. http://www.dfa.gov.za/department/profile_mashabane.html
After the swearing in ceremony making me the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation in 29th of April 2004, my husband died while he was on an official trip to Trinidad and Tobago in 2004. After his death, I discovered that he had some funds in a dollar account which mounted to the sum of US$3.5M with a Financial Institute abroad.
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 year 2000 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 need your assistance in clearing this money from the Financial Institute.As soon as the fund is cleared, you are expected to move it immediately into another personal bank account in your country.
I will see to it that the account is not traced from South Africa. As soon as you have confirmed the fund into your account, I will send my eldest son with my Attorney to come to your country to discuss on business investments.
For your assistance, I am offering you (Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) 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 email.
Due to my sensitive position in the South African Government, I would not WANT you to call me on phone or send a fax to me. All correspondence must be by email to my private email,If you want to speak with my Attorney, that is fine and okay by me. His chambers will be representing my interest with you.
All correspondence must be made to my Attorney, I will also like you to send me the following information below: To enable my Attorney call or reach you from time to time,
1. Your full name
2. Your telephone and fax numbers
3. Your contact address & Your Occupation
Please I do not need to remind you of the need for absolute Confidentiality if this transaction must succeed. YOU MUST NOT CALL ME! If you do not feel comfortable with this transaction, do not hesitate to discontinue.
Moreover If you are interested kindly reply through my private email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your anticipated co-operation and my regards to your family.
Ms. Maite Nkoana Mashabane,
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation