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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "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)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Joyce Makuta <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2010 01:12:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: FROM MRS JOYCE AND MY SON JAMES MAKUTA.
FROM MRS JOYCE AND MY SON JAMES MAKUTA.
SEND ME REPLY ON THIS EMAIL ADDRESS BELOW :
ASSISTANCE NEEDED AND CONFIDENTIAL.
Don't be surprised to receive this mail,I am Mrs. Joyce Makuta, wife of Mr Humphry Makuta (EDWARD TOBACCO FARM ZIMBABWE ), My late husband was murdered by Zimbabwe veterans and critic black people of ZANU-PF ruling party, if you are Conversant with CNN AFRICA. View the website below. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7308963.stm
Before the death of my husband on the 28th of Feb 2004, he was a prosperous tobacco and coffee farmer who has invested much in Agriculture sector and a very major sponsor of the opposition party (MOVEMENT OF DEMOCRATIC CHANGE). PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE and his ZANU-PF ruling with the new land reform system, the Government secretly sponsored the war veterans and irate party members to dispose the land being occupied by whites and some rich farmers who are opposed to his consistent staying in power, radical and unnecessary reforms target to his political opponents and high rate of abuse of human right which led to the killing of some members of opposition party including my husband Mr Humphry Makuta.
I acknowledge very well that my late husband deposited the sum of US$18.7M (EIGHTEEN MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) with a security and financial company here in Johannesburg-South Africa with the intention of using it for the purchase of new farm machineries and chemical for Agricultural purpose from Japan as well as purchasing hectares of land in Botswana.
With the high risk of staying in my country we are now on political asylum. (Refugee) here in Johannesburg-South Africa, my position does not allow me to open an account or to normalize this fund to any meaningful business transaction, I want you to understand that this is purely family fund not money laundering affair.
I solicit for your honest assistance to a family shattered by Mugabe's Government, I want this fund to be transferred to your nominated account overseas, with your partnership, I will invest in your country, I and my son have agreed to offer you 20% of the fund for your kind assistance then 5% will be for any possible expenses that might occur in the process of this transaction while 75% will be for my family investment in your country, be assured that all the necessary document backing this fund has been arranged by my attorney, feel free to ask any question regarding this transaction.
Hoping to hear from you soonest, my son James Makuta shall speak to you once we have your telephone contacts etc because i am very sick presently. We need your urgent and confidential response towards this transaction.
MRS JOYCE AND MY SON JAMES MAKUTA.