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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "may 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Theophilus Mendes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 07:42:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: From Theophilus,
I know this mail may come to you as a surprise, since we have not known or written before. I am Theophilus, am contacting you on behalf of myself and my younger sister Angel. We are orphans.
Nationality: Ivoirians. Our late Father Mr Mendes Toure, was a successful business-man whom before his untimely death, was a Cocoa and Diamond Merchant based here in Abidjan, Cote d'lvoire. oth our Father and Mother were poisoned at a party organised by one of his business associates.
Before he died in a private hospital here, my Father called me and told me that he deposited the sum of $11.5M (Eleven Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars), in a bank here which he used my name as next of kin to deposit the funds as the only son. due to the problem that have arised in our family between my late Father's brothers over who should control his wealth and subsquent death in the family, I have decided with my younger sister to transfer this funds overseas for future investment after we finish our education. We want to leave here and come over to your country to live and continue our studies, because our lives is no longer safe here.
We have heard from a reliable source that they are planing on how to retrieve all the documents concerning the funds from us, so that they can claim the funds.Before contacting you, we have spoken with the local bank manager and worked out modalities on how to transfer the funds to your country.
Please, we humbly seek your assistance in the following ways:
1- To assist us in transferring this fund quietly into your account in your country.
2- To serve as the guardian of this funds since I am still in the university and my younger sister is still in the college.
3- To make arrangement for me and my younger sister to come over to your country to further our education and to help us secure a residential permit in your country. Moreover, we are willing to offer you any agreed (percentage) out of the total funds as compensation for your efforts/input after the successful transfer of this funds into your ominated account overseas, while some percentage will be set aside to offset any expenses we may incur.
4- Furthermore, you can indicate your option towards assisting us as I believe that this transaction would be concluded within the shortest possible time.
NB: Please, if you are interested to help us, contact me immediately after you read this proposal so that I may give you more detailed,information how this transfer could be carried out. However, I wish to hear from you to know your decision concerning this proposal.
Waiting to hear from you.
Please reply very urgent.
Theophilus And Angel.