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 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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" 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.
- +22544178533 (Cote d'Ivoire, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Gabril Matias <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 3 Jun 2010 08:37:11 -0500
Subject: MY MESSAGE
Dear beloved friend,
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I am giving you my trust and wish you will give me back the trust i have given you . I believe that you will be honest to fulfill my final wish before I will die.
I am Mr. Gabril Matias James , I am 71 years old, I am suffering from a long time cancer of the brain .From all indication my condition is really deteriorating, and my doctors have courageously advised me that I may not live beyond the next two months, this is because the cancer stage has reached a critical stage. I was brought up in a motherless babys home, and was married to my late wife for twenty years without a child . My wife and I are true Christians, but quite unfortunately, she was killed during the (ABIDJAN- BOUAKE) Crisis some years back.
Since her death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my belongings and deposited all the sum of $10.2million dollars with a security company In Ivory Coast where i lived with my late wife all our lives, as it was pakaged and registered as a personal Valuable.
Presently, this money is still in their custody, and the management just wrote me as the Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive the Deposit after keeping it for so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over as a result of my illness, Presently,I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment. I have since lost my ability to walk about or do anything by myself and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live.
It is my last wish to see that this money is invested in any business of your choice and the gain made every year or 6 months as the case may be, distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the motherless babys home where I come from. I want your good humanitarian, to also use this money to fund churches, orphanages and widows around, 20% for you , I must let you know that this was a very hard decision, but I had to take a bold step towards this issue because I have no further option. I hope you will help see my last wishes come true.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the security company. I will also issue you a letter of authority, which will prove that you are the new beneficiary of my funds. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as
I stated herein. I will be happy if you can come down to Ivory Coast if possible
Hope to hear from you soonest you can call me if possible at +225 44178533
Awaiting your reply
Mr Gabril Matias