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:
- "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)
- "your humble assistance" (a common phrase found 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Noel Salif <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2013 16:04:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Please Help Me
Dear Respectful One,
I am Noel Salif, a 16 years old boy from republic of Sierra-Leone in West Africa but living in Ghana and I am the only Son of Dr. Jamah Salif My father was a highly reputable businessman. It is sad to say that he passed away mysteriously in France during one of his business trips abroad on 19th. June.. 2008. Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been masterminded by his uncle who traveled with him at that time.
My mother died at child birth when I was just 11 years old and since then my father took me so special. Before his death on June 2008 he told the driver who accompanied him to the hospital that he has the sum of (15 Million Dorlas) deposited in ACCESS BANK Ghana for safety,finally he issued a written instruction for me to go for the money at the hospital before he died.
Since the death of my father, the Uncle threatened to kill me because my father`s driver revealed to him about the money that was deposited in Ghana,i had to run away to Ghana where the money was deposited, i need your help Now I do not know what to do. I have the documents of the deposit but my age is depriving me of the claim. I am just 16 years old a secondary school student, I am confused, I don't know what to do, I have suffered a lot of set back as The death of my Father actually brought sorrow to my life. I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards.
Am ready to give you 30% of the (15 Million Dollars) and also help me to invest it in a good business because i want to go away from this country as i have suffered a lot.
Please Consider this and get back to me as soon as possible.
Thank you so much. My regards to your family,