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. )
- "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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
- 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 (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Purity Qaume <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 03:37:14 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: From: Madam Purity Qaume
It is my pleasure to contact you for a business venture which I and my Son Harrison intend to establish in your country. Though I have not met with you before but I believe one has to risk confiding before you can succeed sometimes in life.
I can confide in you for the brighter future of my Son since you are a human being like me. There is this huge amount of Fifteen Million five hundred thousand United States dollars. ($15.500.000.00) which my late Husband kept for us with a Security Company here in Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire before he was assassinated by unknown persons, Now I and my son Harrison have decided to invest these money in your country or anywhere safe enough for security and political reasons.
We want you to help us claim and retrieve this fund from the Security Company and transfer it into your personal account in your country for investment purposes in your country in these areas:
2). The transport Industry
3). Five Star Hotel
5). Real Estate
If you can be of an assistance to us we will be pleased to offer you 10% of the total fund. You can call my son Harrison for more explanation on this number: 0022566177491. Do reply me with this email address bellow for more details about this transaction: firstname.lastname@example.org
I await your soonest response.
Mrs Purity Qaume and son Harrison