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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known 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:
From: "Letty Brown" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 14 Aug 2011 19:56:15 +0800
Mr. Dennis Morgan
Johannesburg - South Africa.
URGENT AND STRICTLY CONFIDNTIAL
Attn: President / CEO
I write this letter with all sincerity and a tears filled eyes. I hope you will understand and assist my client and her siblings. I also believe that it will be of immense benefit to you as well.
I am Mr. Letty Brown a lawyer to Mrs. Lizzy Cillier, the wife of Late Pieter Cillier a former white farmer in Zimbabwe. During the current war against white farmers in Zimbabwe and from the support of the president, ROBERT MUGABE to claim all the white owned farms in Zimbabwe. All the white farmers were ordered to surrender their farms to his party members and his followers but my clients husband who was one of the best farmers in Zimbabwe did not support his idea and so the party members invaded his farms killed him and burnt everything in the farm and made away with a lot of treasures in my fathers farmhouse. Please see this link for authentication: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article7078730.ece
My client who is currently an asylum seeker here in South Africa narrated this ordeal to me and requested I seek the assistance of a foreign partner. According to her, before the death of her husband, he has told her about the existence of the sum of US$25,000,000.00, which he deposited with the Security and Finance Company in here in South Africa. The fund was meant for the purchase of farm machineries and equipment before the land dispute arose in Zimbabwe. The fund is lodged in a consignment, which also has 25 kilos of Gold all declares as valuables.
According to my client, her husband told her that the content of the box was not disclosed to the Security Company for security reasons but was declared as a FAMILY VAUABLE. Due to the fact that my client and her siblings are Asylum Seekers (REFUGEES) in South Africa they are not permitted by law of South Africa to some certain rights, such as operating bank accounts, investment, study and other monetary transaction, thus the reason I am soliciting your utmost asistance on their behalf to accept the fund in your bank account as a foreign partner to late Mr. Pieter Cillier. Every legal documents for the claim of the fund in your name as the beneficiary would be processed and submitted to the appropriate offices for the release of the fund into your account.
So if you consider this proposal and really wish to assist these depressed people from your heart, please reply immediately. My client has agreed to give you 30% of the total sum for assistance, 5% will be earmarked for any expenses that might accrue during the course of the transaction, 5% for me while the balance 60% would be invested in your country with your expertize advise. If you indicate interest, please submit your full names, direct phone number(s), email address and country of residence.
For more information regarding this transaction, kindly contact me through the above telephone number or email address.
Mr. Letty Brown.