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:
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: shernell thomas <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2010 11:57:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Beloved One.
Please i am very sorry for the inconveniences and embarrassments this may cause you.
My name is Miss Shernell Thomas, 20 years and single from Abidjan , Cote d'Ivoire in West Africa. The only surviving daughter of Chief Dr. Adams Thomas ( Director and CEO Adams Holdings Ltd ) who dealed on gold and diamonds during his days before he was shot by an assassins hired by his brother on his business trip to Ethiopia on the 20th of August 2009.
My mother and my only brother happened to be a victim in the incident while I was schooling In France . I read mechanical engineering before i dropped out from school due to the sudden death of my late father and i am willing to complete my education with your hunble assistance and favor.
Honestly, i am in serious agony and pains since the death of my parents.
Meanwhile a week before the incident took place, we had a family meeting and my late father informed us that his brother threatened to kill him. Due to fear, he took all his documents and some personal information to our family lawyer including the deposit certificate of USD$9.500.000.00 (Nine Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars) that was issued to him on the day he made a deposit to the bank.
Now i want you to help me provide an account where this money will be transferred into for an investment in your country. I will offer you 40% of the total amount for helping me and use the other 60% for an investment in your country after my education, and i want you to understand that i am all yours and i am willing to do and share things together with you. I also promise to respect and love you forever.
I will give you the contact of the bank director who will give you more information and directives on how you will receive the money in your account. I have discussed with him on my plans to transfer the money into foreign investors partner's account and he supported the idea so that my wicked uncle will not locate me and kill me.
Waiting to hear from you quickly with your telephone number where I can call you for more details.
Please reply me for more details and the documents.
My sincere regards,
Miss Shernell Thomas.