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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "top secret" (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.
- +27786515770 (South Africa, prepaid mobile phone)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: John Kante <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 14:42:31 +0000
Subject: Business Opportunity for you and I
>From the desk of:
Engr. John Kante
Tel:+27 78 6515 770
Date: 09 06 - 2009
I am John Kante, Director of Project, South African Ministry of Minerals And Energy Resources. I am making this contact with you based on the committee's need for an individual / company who is willing to assist us with a solution to a money transfer.
First and foremost, I apologized for using this medium to reach you for a transaction/business of this magnitude, but this is due to Confidentiality and prompt access reposed on this medium. In unfolding this proposal, I want to count on you, as a respected and honest person to handle this transaction with sincerity, trust and confidentiality. I have decided to seek a confidential co-operation with you in the execution of the deal described hereunder for the benefit of all parties and hope you will keep it as a top secret because of the nature of this transaction.
My colleagues and I used our official position to influence the award of a contract to a foreign company based on a gentleman agreement that a certain percentage of the total contract value will be given to us. The foreign contracting firm has executed the contract and the contract amount paid less US$20,500,000.00 (Twenty Million Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars). Which represent the percentage which we agreed should be given to us since the present Government is determined to pay foreign contractors all debts owed, so as to maintain good relationship with foreign governments and non-government agencies; we intend to include our bills for approvals with the Department of Finance.
We are seeking your assistance to enable us claim the money since as civil servant we are not allowed to operate foreign accounts. Details shall be worked out in line with this to enable us claim the money without the slightest problem. I have the authority of my partners involved to propose that should you be willing to assist us in this transaction your share as compensation will be US$5.125m (25%), while my colleagues and I receive US$13.325m (65%) and the balance of US$2.5m (10%) for miscellaneous expenses that may be incurred by either party.
The business is completely safe and secure, provided you treat it with utmost confidentiality. It does not matter whether you / your Company does contracts, as transfer of powers will be secured in favour of you / your Company. Also, your area of specialization is not a hindrance to the successful execution of this transaction. We have reposed confidence in you and hope that you will not disappoint us.
Kindly notify me by fax or call me on my telephone number. Endeavour to send your secured telephone and fax numbers for further details upon your acceptance of this proposal.
Thank you in anticipation of your co-operation.
Engr. John Kante
Email Address: email@example.com
Ministry of Mineral and Energy Resources