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:
- "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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "M.BOATENG AYU JR" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 10:13:00 -0300 (BRT)
Subject: M.BOATENG AYU JR
I have decided to get in touch with you through this internet media to see if you can help me
solve my problem as I believe, one has to risk confiding in someone to succeed sometimes in life
considering the situations the person fined his or her self.
My name is Master.BOATENG AYU JR, The Son of Late Dr. BOATENG AYU who lost his life in the
course of the political crisis in Cote dIvoire with my mum and my little Sister. My father
willed in cash, the sum of $18.6 Million US Dollars which he deposited in a Fixed/Suspense
account with a bank here in Accra Ghana, with enabling conditions for the release of the funds
which are as follows:
(1) That I must be 30 years or above to have full access of the deposit.
(2) That if any situation warrants that I may need the funds before the said age, I have to
present to the bank a reliable foreign guardian/Trustee that will receive and invest the funds
on my behalf.
(3) That upon request for the release of the funds, there must be evidence of investment
intentions especially outside the West Africa.
I contact you therefore to stand as my guardian/Trustee since I am not yet 30 and now in a very
difficult situation that I can not wait to get to the said age because I may die before that
time comes due to hardship and no one to assist me over here. Please absorb me in partnership in
your company or possibly advise me on any investment opportunity in your country to invest the
funds and also assist me with the necessary traveling required documents to come over to your
country for the investments and to further my education.
I am now 21 and can not wait for more 9 years to come. I expect your urgent response including
your address and your telephone number.
Please, consider this and get back to me as quick as possible
Please get back to me on the following email:( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Thanks for expected cooperation.
M.BOATENG AYU JR,