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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "trunk box" (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)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
Fraud email example:
From: FAATIN RAHMAN <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2010 11:06:35 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Business Assistance From Miss Faatin Rahman.
FromÂ Miss Faatin Rahman.
ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST
With due respect and humility I write you this letter which I believe you would be of great assistance to me and my younger brother.
I amÂ Miss Faatin Rahman., the daughter of the late Dr. hammed Rahman. of blessed memory. Prior to my father's assassination by the rebel forces loyal to the revolutionary United Front (RUF), he was the Director General National Gold and Diamond Mining Corporation of Sierra-Leone.
Few days before my father was assassinated, he instructed me and my younger brother ( Abdul Rahman ) to move out of Sierra-Leone and also to go in his underground strong room where the documents of money he has deposited in a SECURITY COMPANY in Abidjan Cote dÂ´Ivoire in one trunk box as family valuables and treasures withÂ my nameÂ as the beneficiary. The amount is (Eight million, Five hundred thousand United State Dollars. (USD$8.500, 000) We managed to escape to Abidjan the Republic of Cote dÂ´Ivoire through the help of my fatherâs friend who is a trailer driver, as our travelling document was seized. We am now looking for a trustworthy and God fearing person who will handle this money for rapid profit for the future of me and my younger brother (Abdul Rahman)
For your information, the security company did not know the real content of the box as money and we do not wish them to know until the money is transferred to your account, as it was deposited as family valuables and treasures. Meanwhile, we want to leave Cote dÂ´Ivoire entirely for investment of this money in your country and mostly for our future. We want you to please assist us to claim the box from the SECURITY COMPANY and to deposit the money in your accountÂ in your country, as our foreign partner.
We have it in mind to reward you with a 20% percentage for your assistance as soon as we hear from you. please my brother AbdulÂ is sick and hospitalised so I spend most time with him at the hospital, as soon as I receive your mail we will give you more details regarding this transaction and our terrible condition here.
May God protect and guide you as you assist us.
Miss Faatin Rahman.