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:
- "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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Wippy" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2009 10:16:37 -0100
Subject: YOUR URGENT RESPONSE IS NEEDED
I am desperately looking for a foreign partner whom I can trust to handle some Investment or fund movement. My name is Alex Wippy,27 years old, the son of Late chief Doctor Micheal Wippy. A Zimbabwe business Man, politician and Farmer. During the current crises against the farmers in Zimbabwe from the supporters of President Robert Mugabe to claim all the white-owned farms to his party members and his followers, he ordered all white farmers to surrender all farms to his party members and his followers.
My father is One of the most successful multi-farmers in our country and because he did not support Mugabe`s ideas, Mugabe's supporters invaded his farm and burnt everything in the farm, killing him and made away with a lot of items in my Father's farm. Before his death, my father had deposited with a security company in Ghana , the sum of (US$18Million - 18Million United States Dollars and 100 kg of gold dust). (The documents of which he only made me aware of) After the death of my father, I decided to move to Republic of Ghana where I re-located under political asylum as a refugee to seek for foreign partner overseas that will assist me to move this money out of the security company to his country for investment purpose.
As an asylum seeker I am not allowed to Invest or operate any Bank Account within Ghana . That is why I need your urgent help. I have agreed with my mother to compensate you out of the total sum for your assistance as soon as the money gets into your account. I want truth and honesty to be our watch word in this transaction for the successful out comes of it. Please reply me as soon as possible if you are willing to work with me. Thanks and God bless you.
(For The Family)