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:
- "demurrage " (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. )
- "trunk box" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: " Madam Marisa Mayor" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 14:42:09 -0000
Subject: LET'S DO IT TOGETHER
Dear Respected ,
My name is Madam Marisa Mayor . A complete citizen of the Philippines,widow to the late Mr Desmond Mayor who died of ulcer and he has been buried.
I inherited a total sum of 12.3 million dollars from my late husband, this money which is concealed in a metallic trunk box is deposited with a security and finance company in Cote D' Ivoire Due to the instruction he laid down before he deposited the box, that he needed maximum security/safety of my consignment and no body nor government organization can trace where about of the box until were ready and prepare to claim it.
This deposit was coded under a secret arrangement as a family treasure.This means that the security company does not know the content of this trunk box.
My main purpose of sending you this mail is because of the way I found you and perhaps trustworthy to give you this priority of shipping the box of money to any address that you think is very secure and save in your country with your percentage of which we shall chat on soon.
In fact, since the death of my husband, his brothers has been seriously chasing me around with constant treats, trying to suppress me so that they might have the documents of his landed properties and confiscate them. They have successfully collected all his properties, yet they never stopped there, they told me to surrender all bank account of my late husband,which I did, but I never disclose to them this deposit with the security company in Abidjan- Cote d'Ivoire, because this is where my future and destiny lies upon.
The family of my late husband never aware of the secret existence of this deposit which my late husband made with the security company and they can never be aware of it.
Out of fear of my late husbands family, and when the situation becomes uncontrollable because of pressure on me from the family, I decide to look for a trustworthy person who could assist me retrieve this box of money from the security company for onward lodgement into his account for the purpose of future investment.Consider my situation as a widow and come to my rescue.
There is need for urgent action because I'm paying $50 dollars per day as a demurrage to the security company for safe keeping this consignment.
I give thanks immensely for your co-operation as I look forward to hear from you soon.
All the best,