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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Suzanne zita <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 00:41:41 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Crying for help
Crying for help
My name is Miss Suzanne zita Robert, I âm quite aware that my message will come to you as a surprise because it is indeed very strange for someone you have not met before to contact you in this regard, looking for a trustworthy, sincere and honest someone like you who can help me in this time of needs.
Before the death of my father on 20th June 2009 in a private hospital here in Abidjan , he secretly called me at his bedside, when I sat down to listen to him, he started crying, why? (1) He complained that I am too young to be managing my life with no one to take care of me,(2)That I have not finished my university education as he planned for me, he revealed to me that he has a sum of US$6,500.000.(Six MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) he left in bank here , He also explained to me that it was because of this wealth that he was poisoned by his wicked brothers and associates , that l should seek for a GOD fearing foreign partner in a country of my choice where l will transfer this money and use it for proper investment purpose ,that I must finish my university education by the help of a business partner/guardian abroad, that he or she should help me obtain a resident permit in his or her country, that he used my name as the only child
for his next of kin in deposit of the funds,. Right now I am still here in my country but very unsafe for me. I'm living in great fear and bondage. I intend leaving this country as soon as possible, But unfortunately he did not complete the transaction before he died. I have the depositing certificates with which he made the deposit in the bank; I know it looks stupid for me trying to confide in a total stranger I never met before. By instinct I am convinced you are an honest person and you have the capacity to handle this transaction with me. As soon as it is done, I will come over with to meet you and spend the rest of my live in your country. I wish to invest the money into estate business and other good business you may propose. I promise to greatly compensate you with 15% for any assistance you may offer me. I do not know how you may feel about this but I want you to take this very serious and confidential. Down here, I am living in fear because
enemies, uncles and wicked relatives of my parents are hunting for us. Please let me know your mind concerning my proposal to you, May God bless you as you as you extend your helping hand to an orphan