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:
- "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. )
- "million 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)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "barr." (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.
Fraud email example:
From: HAJIA SAFIA FARKASH GADDAFI <firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 6 Nov 2011 18:27:02 GMT
Subject: URGENT ASSISTANCE STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL/URGENT
URGENT ASSISTANCE STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL/URGENT
FROM: HAJIA SAFIA FARKASH GADDAFI
C/O BARR. CHONG WOLE
I am Hajia Safia Farkash, the widow of the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi former Liybia Military Head of State who died mysteriously as a result of Civil War.
Since after my husbands death my family is under restriction of movement and that not withstanding, we are being molested, policed and our bank Account both here and abroad are being frozen by the new Liybia interim Government.
Furthermore, my elder son has been killed by the rebel while the immediate brother has been arrested for more interrogation about my husbands assets and some vital documents.
Following the recent discovery of my husbands Bank Account by the new Liybia interim Government with Niger Central Bank in which the huge sum of US$80 billion,DM450 Million and Alluvial Gold was logged. I therefore decided to contact you in confidence that l was able to move out the sum of US$700 Million Dollars and Alluvial Gold, which was secretly defaced and is sealed in two Metal Boxes for security reasons.Take a look on the website: http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/libyan-gold-cash-convoy-crosses-into-niger----take-the-money-and-run-time/question-2140843/ for that actually the reason I did move out the money and gold for a safe keep with a security company in Niger.
I therefore personally appeal to you seriously and religiously for your urgent assistance to move this money and gold into your country where l believe it will be safe since l cannot leave the country due to the restriction of movement imposed on the members of my family by the Liybia interim Government.
My lawyer shall arrange with you for a face to face meeting outside Liybia in order to liaise with you toward effective completion of this money out of Niger in a secret vault through a security company in Africa, and as soon as you indicate your interest my Lawyer shall send you the Air-Way Bill of the Luggage and other related documents that will help you claim the Luggage.
Conclusively, we have agreed to offer you 30% of the total sum while 70% is to be held on trust by you until we can decide on a suitable business investment in your country subsequent to our free movement by the Liybia interim Government.
Please reply urgently and treat with absolute confidentiality and sincerity.
HAJIA SAFIA FARKASH GADDAFI(MRS).