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:
- 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)
- "is 100% risk-free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "i got your address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
- 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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mpoyo Jennifer <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 09:55:43 +0000
Subject: =?windows-1256?Q?Please_cal?= =?windows-1256?Q?l_me_mobil?=
>From : Mr. FREDRICK MPOYO
I am the elder son of LATE MR. DANIEL MPOYO from Zimbabwe.
This might be a surprise to you where I got your contact address.I got your
address from South African Information Exchange in Johannesburg.During the
current war against the farmers in Zimbabwe
from the supports of our President Robert
Mugabe to claim all the white-owned farms to his party members and his
followers, he ordered all the white-owned farmers to surrender all their farms
to his party members and his followers.
My father was one of the best farmers in our country and because he did not
support his idea, supporters invaded my fathers farm and burnt everything in
the farm, killing my father and made away with a lot of items in my fathers
farm.After the death of my father, i and my family decided to move out from
Zimbabwe because our lives are still in
danger with the money my father kept safe in my mothers care. The amount is
US$ 9.Million(Nine Million United States Dollars)and we decided
to move to the Republic of South Africa where we deposited the money in a
Security Company as valuables. So, I decided to contact overseas Firm that will
assist me to move this money out of South
Africa, because we are asylum
seekers here in South Africa.We have agreed to give you
from the total sum 20% for helping us to move this money to your country and
5%:will be mapped out for expenses both of us might incured during this
transaction while the balance will be for my family investment in your country.
All I want is for you to furnish me with all your banking details and your
personal phone and fax numbers for easy communication. Please do send your reply
through my private mail box(firstname.lastname@example.org)
and also you can contact me on the above telephone numbers.Note that this
transaction is 100% risk-free and it requires mutual trust and absolute
confidentiality and I have taken care of all formalities regarding it.Your
urgent response will be highly appreciated in this regard,Thanks and a pleasant
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