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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "demurrage " (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. )
- "transaction is risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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.
- 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: "FROM MR.JOHN BALI" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 03:05:36 -0800 (PST)
Subject: URGENT FAMILY BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
FROM MR.JOHN BALI
OF SOUTH AFRICA
TEL : +27 783 317 554
You may be surprised to receive this letter from me since
you do not know me personally, the purpose of my introduction is that, I am
Mr.John Bali first son of Mr.Abrahim Bali, who was recently murdered in the land
dispute in Zimbabwe . I got your contact through South African Information
Exchange decided to write you.
Before the death of my father, he had
taken me to Johannesburg to deposit the sum of US$18.6Million (Eighteen Million
Six Houndred Thousand United States Dollars), in one of the private security
company, as if he foresaw the looming danger in Zimbabwe . This money was
deposited in a box as germ stones to avoid much demurrage from Security Company.
This amount was meant for the purchase of new machines and chemicals for the
farms and established of new farm in Swaziland .
This land problem came
when Zimbabwean President MR.ROBERT MUGABE introduce a new Land Act reform which
wholly affected the rich white farmers and some few blacks farmers. And this
resulted to the killing and mob action by Zimbabwean war veterans and some
lunatics in the society. In fact, a lot of people were killed because of this
land reformed Act for which my father was one of the victim.
against this background that, I and my family who are currently staying in South
Africa decided to transfer my father's money to foreign account since the law of
South Africa prohibits a refugee (asylum seeker) to open any bank account or to
be involved in any financial transaction throughout the territorial zone South
Africa . As the eldest son of my father, I am saddle with the responsibility of
seeking a genuine foreign account where this money could be transferred without
the knowledge of my government who are bent on taking everything we have got.
The South African government seems to be playing along with them. I am faced
with the dilemma of investing this amount of money in South Africa for fear of
going through the same experience in future since both countries have similar
political history. Moreover, the South African Foreign Exchange Policy does not
allow such investments for an asylum seeker.
As a businessman, who I have
to entrust my future since both my future and of my family are in his hands, I
must let you know that this transaction is risk free. If you accept to assist my
family and me all I want you to do for me is to make arrangements and come to
Johannesburg-South Africa, so that you can open a non-resident account, which
you will aid us in transferring the money into any account which you will
nominate overseas. This money I intended to use for investment.
I have two
options for you; firstly you can choose to have certain percentage of the money
for nominating your account for this transaction. Or you can go into partnership
with me for proper profitable investment of the money in your country. Whichever
the options you want, feel free to notify me. If you do not prefer partnership I
am willing to give you 25% of the money while the remaining 75% will be for my
investment in your country.
Contact me with the above e-mail, and
Telephone number while I implore you to maintain the absolute secrecy required
in this transaction
PLEASE YOU CAN READ ABOUT PROBLEMS IN ZIMBABWE FROM THE LINKS