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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "a security company " (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. )
- "million united states 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)
- "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)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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.
- +27731200679 (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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Chris Moyo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Chris Moyo <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 06:52:18 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Please Do Read My Proposal!
From: Prince Chris Moyo (Jnr).
Johannesburg- South Africa.
Phone: +27 73 120 0679.
REF: URGENT REQUEST
With due respect, trust and humility, I write this letter to you seeking your help and assistance. Though it is difficult since we have not met before, I got your good contact from the network online while browsing through website of business opportunities in your country. I believe that you are capable and reliable in handling this urgent international transaction of this sort.
My name is Prince Chris Moyo (Jnr) the elder son of Prince Solomon Moyo, of the republic of Zimbabwe . During the current war against the farmers in Zimbabwe , supported by President, Robert Mugabe in his effort to expel the white farmers of the country. He has ordered the white farmers to give their farms to his members of the party and his followers.
My father was one of the most successful farmers in our country, and had been the Minister of Finance in Robert Mugabe's administration, but he did not like the idea of dispossessing the white farmers of their land. For this, his farm was invaded and was burned by the supporters of the government. In the course of the assault, my father was killed, and the invaders made away with many articles of the farm of my father. Our family house was totally destroyed.
Before the death of my father, he called me to the attention of the sum of US$18.2 Million United States Dollars, which he had deposited with a Security Company here in South Africa, during his tenure as minister of finance. I decided to get in touch with your company, so that you will help me in the transfer of this money from South Africa. This has become necessary after I have been denied any right to own Bank account or any other form of financial transaction here, for I am a political asylum seeker here in South Africa.
We (my sister and I) proposed that you should receive 20% of the entire amount for your help in the transfer of the fund, then 75% of this money shall go to us (my sister and I), 5% remaining will be used to cover any cost or expenses incurred by the both parties in the process of this transaction.
Would you immediately confirm your interest in this transaction through my private email: firstname.lastname@example.org then I will give you more details as to how we shall conclude this transaction.
Incase you may have no interest in this transaction; I kindly request your utmost confidentiality and secrecy in this matter for security reasons.
PLEASE READ ABOUT THE PROBLEMS IN ZIMBABWE FROM THE LINKS BELOW.
Thank you for your expected co-operation and God bless.
Thank you for your co-operation.
Prince Chris Moyo (Jnr).