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:
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "liberia" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Michael Harni" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 22:41:52 +0100
Subject: Hello Friend
I am Michael Harni,A former government official of Liberia. Following theexit of president Charles Taylor of Liberia from power under a West Africanbrokered peace agreement, led by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo he wasgranted asylum by the Nigerian Government.
In my position as the FinancialSecretary to the President and close confidant, I left for Nigeria in hisEncourage. My country has been engulfed in Protracted Civil war with rebels controllingsome parts of the country. During the war, President Taylor disbursed largesums of Monies to buy the loyalty of the entire cabinet,and I can say withall modesty that I was one of the Chief Beneficiaries of this disbursement.
This is aside from monies I used my official position to acquire while inoffice.Since we relocated to Calabar, Southern Nigeria all has been well, butwith the recent indictment of former President Taylor by the war crimetribunal sitting in Sierra Leone and confirmed reports of a dedicated fund bythe American Government to capture him in order to face war crime chargeshave now decided to leave the country.
Presently I have funds totaling $115,000,000. (One Hundred And FifteenMillion US Dollars) Which I intend to move oversea for investment and spendthe rest of my life there with my family. This transaction is risk-free asall local arrangement has been made. If you are prepared to assist to workwith me I require the following:
Your Full Name:
Your Private Telephone:
Fax Number :
private Email Address:
As Compensation for your assistance you will retain 30% and 5% will be mappedout for local and International expenses.of the Total sum. I am not writingyou because i am offering you 30%, because i really don't know what yourworth or the kind of person you are but all i need from you is just to helpme and my family by securing the funds with you before i leave the refugeecamp.
I believe we are not known to each other but I strongly believe that throughthis transaction we would be able to forge a mutually beneficial relationshipbetween us, now and in the future. Finally, the success of this transactionwill depend to a great extent of mutual trust, secrecy and Confidentialityfrom you.
I await your swift response to this E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org