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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Madam Mary Vandouf" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2009 16:09:23 -0600
Subject: I have chosen you for Inheritance to help the poor..Contact immediately
Please excuse this humble email if it offends your sensibilities, but I have no
other means to contact you. I cannot talk on the telephone, so I did a search
for your email address, which I found on the International Business Directorate
Email Data Search. My name is Mrs. M Vandouf, I'm a 52 years old woman.
I am a widow who is dying of oesophageal cancers. I was married to
Peterz Vandouf, who was an Executive of Shell Oil Company. We are both
British people who worked in South Africa until he was killed. Presently, I'm
in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for (Lucamia) Cancer
in South Africa.
I have in a security firm the sum of 10,000,000.00GBP (Ten Million Great Britain
Pound Sterling) which my husband deposited before he died in a tragic automobile
accident where he was killed instantly. Because my doctors informed that I have
several weeks to live I must find a good God fearing person who will see that my
money is used for the benefit of the less privileged like homeless orphans and
I have decided to seek your help in carrying out my last wishes, I have since lost
my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only few weeks to live,
It is my last wish to see this money distributed.
My research says you are just the person I seek. Because you have been found
#so trustworthy, I will like you to keep 15% for yourselves and give the rest to
worthy charity. Maybe you could start the Peterz Vandouf Foundation which will
keep my husband name alive.
I have enclosed for you the photograph I took when I was receiving treatment in
China above. Because relatives and friends have plundered so much of my wealth
since my illness, I cannot live with the agony entrusting this huge responsibility to
any of them.
Be rest assured that I will sign the necessary Probate Documents to make you the
beneficiary. I will also ask a friend, hospital, attendant, Mr. Makolo to discuss with
you since I can no longer talk or lost my vocal system to give you the details
and finance company where the money was deposited to avoid delay in receiving
the money now that I am still alive.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the security
company in South Africa/ Germany and I will send authority letter that will
prove you the present beneficiary of the money in the finance company that
is if you assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein
1. Your Full Names
2. Your contact Address
3. Your Age
4. Your Marital Status
5. Your Occupation
6. Your Mobile Numbers/ Fax
Feel free to call Mr. Makolo at non-peak time at his confidential
Telephone: +27 785889966
I am waiting for your response.
Be Bless as you reply positively,
Mrs M. Vandouf.