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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "confidentiality of this transaction" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a 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.
- +27783317554 (South Africa, prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Susan Shabangu" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 2009 03:56:17 +0200
Subject: URGENT TRANSFER ASSISTANCE
>From Mrs. Susan Shabangu
Ex-Deputy Minister of safety & security,
South Africa .Tel: +27-783-317-554
URGENT TRANSFER ASSISTANCE
First, let me start by introducing myself as Mrs.Susan Shabangu, a mother of three children and the deputy minister of safety and security since 29th April 1996 to date under the auspices of the president of South Africa Mr. Thabo Mbeki.
After due deliberation with my children, I decided to contact you for your assistance in standing as a beneficiary to the sum of us$30.m (Thirty million, united states dollars only) after the swearing in ceremony making me the deputy minister of safety and security, my husband Mr. Ndelebe Shabangu died while he was on an official trip to Trinidad and Tobago in 1996.
After his death, i discovered that he had some funds in a dollar account which amounted to the sum of us$30.m with a security and finance institution in south africa of which i will divulge information to you when i get your full consent and support to go for a change of beneficiary and subsequent transfer of the funds into you a comfortable and conducive account of your choice.
This fund emanated as a result of an over-invoiced contract which he executed with the government of south africa .Though i assisted him in getting this contract but i never knew that it was over-invoiced by him.I am afraid that the government of south africa might start to investigate on contracts awarded from 1990 to date.If they discover this money in his bank account, they will confiscate it and seize his assets here in south africa and this will definitely affect my political career in government.
I want your assistance in opening an account with bankers through my banker so that this fund could be wired into your account directly without any hitch. As soon as the fund gets to your account, you are expected to move it immediately into another personal bank account in your country.
I will see to it that the account is not traced from South Africa . As soon as you have confirmed the fund into your account, I will send my eldest son with my attorney to come to your country to discuss on business investments. For your assistance, I am offering you 25% you have to assure me and also be ready to go into agreement with me that you will not elope with my fund. If you agree to my terms, kindly as a matter of urgency send me an email. Due to my sensitive position in the South African government.
Please do not call on the office line, because of the sensitivity of this transaction except of the above direct line; you can contact my son Alex Shabangu direct line +27-783-317-554, I prefer you send me email than call. All correspondence must be by email to my private email address, email@example.com If you want to speak with my banker, that is fine and okay by me. You will have to send down you private telephone /fax number so that I can forward it to him to reach you from time to time this is for security reasons. Please I do not need to remind you of the need for absolute confidentiality of this transaction must succeed. If you do not feel comfortable with this transaction, do not hesitate to discontinue.
Thanks for your anticipated co-operation and my regards to your family.
Ex-Dept. Minister safety & security