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:
- "might come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "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)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
- 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.
- +22509542007 (Cote d'Ivoire, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: "samuel and elizabeth" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 02:01:42 +0200
Subject: [SPAM] HOW ARE YOU TODAY
HOW ARE YOU TODAY
FROM SAMUEL AND ELIZABETH
REPUBLIC OF COTE D IVOIRE
+225 09 54 2007
THIS LETTER MIGHT COME TO YOU AS A SURPRISED SINCE WE HAVE NOT HAD ANY PREVIOUS CORESPONDENCE.THIS IS AS A RESULT OF THE HELPLESS SITUATION I FOUND MYSELF INTO. MY NAME IS SAMUEL, I AM 19 YEARS OLD BOY ,I GOT YOUR CONTACT DURING MY SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE, CAPABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY PERSON THAT CAN ASSIST ME IN THIS DARKEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE. I LOST MY FATHER, MOTHER AND TWO SISTERS, IN A CAR CRASH WHEN OUR DRIVER WAS ABOUT TO DRIVE ACROSS THE RAILWAY WITHOUT KNOWING THAT THE TRAIN WAS ALREADY AT THAT POINT WITH SPEED.
I AM ALIVE WRITING YOU BECAUSE I WAS FORTUNATE TO BE AT HOME WITH MY YOUNGER SISTER (ELIZABETH) AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT. BEFORE MY FATHER'S SUDDEN DEATH, HE KEPT THE SUM OF US$9,000,000.00 ( NINE MILLION US DOLLARS) IN CASH WITH A PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANY.NOW THAT HE IS LATE I AND MY SISTER LEFT BEHIND. I AM WRITING YOU TO ASSIST ME RECEIVE THIS MONEY IN YOUR COUNTRY, INVEST IT IN A PROFITABLE BUSINESS AND RELOCATE I AND MY SISTER TO JOIN YOU IMMEDIATELY. AS A RESULT OF INSECURITY OF LIFE AND PROPERTY HERE, I DO NOT WANT TO STAY HERE ANY LONGER.
I GIVE ALMIGHTY GOD THE GLORY AND THANKS THAT MY FATHER DID NOT DIE IMMEDIATELY BUT HE DIED AFTER THREE DAYS OF THE INCEDENTS.HE GAVE ME ALL THIS INFORMATION WHILE HE WAS AT THE HOSPITAL.I WILL BE VERY GLAD IF YOU CAN ASSIST ME CONTACT THIS PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANY WHERE MY FATHER DEPOSITED THIS FUNDS ,I AM READY TO PASS TO YOU ALL THE INFORMATIONS THAT MY FATHER GAVE TO ME ON HOW TO GET THIS FUNDS OUT FROM THE SECURITY COMPANY IMMEDAITELY ONLY IF YOU WILL PROMISE ME THAT I WILL NOT BE BETRAYED AT THE END, I AM PREPARED TO GIVE YOU
15% OF THE TOTAL SUM FOR YOUR KIND ASSISTANCE.
I AM WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU .
SAMUEL AND ELIZABETH