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:
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Thomas Nana" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 11:39:17 -0000
Subject: FROM: Mr. Thomas Nana.
FROM: Mr. Thomas Nana.
Bank's External Auditor.
Greetings, I communicate you with honest Intentions and I seek to make contact with you and acquaint myself with you for mutual benefit towards over coming a Dilemma regarding certain funds left behind in an Investment Account by a Deceased client of a Bank here in Ivory Coast.
I have the opportunity to be working as an external Auditor when I came across this Account with a substantial Deposit in foreign currency which has not been claimed for some years, I sent out notices for Claims of this money and the Bank informed me that the Owner, a Foreigner passed away during the Zimbabwean Crisis and was a Farmer who was assassinated when his farm was taken over, this man had no family and left no Beneficiary information.
This Money if it is not claimed may be tuned over to the Treasury if someone does not claim it hence my decision to contact you for your Interest so I can present you as the Business partner to this deceased owner. It is required that an Application for claims be entered and approval given within 10 days so this money can be transferred to your overseas Account, there is no risk involved because I will lay the necessary groundwork and you will provide the Overseas Account to receive this money upon Approval.
If this money is not claimed within the next 2 months, it will be taken to the Treasury and both of us can work together to avoid this, because your Country has good investment climate, this money can be invested in your country than allowing corrupt Government officials to have access to it.
I will inform you of the Amount involved, as well as your percentage after I receive a Favorable and positive feedback from you, your percentage shall be discussed upon your agreement. Please contact me by Email and furnish me with the following details;
 Your Names
 Telephone and Fax numbers,
I will get in touch with you afterwards; this proposal is for Mutual Fina
ncial Benefit and not to mis-lead you.
Thank you and Best Regards,
Mr. Thomas Nana.