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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "liberia" (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: anthony <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2011 00:31:26 -0300
Subject: From A. Johnson
I wish the best in life for you and your family, and I hope you will receive
this mail in good spirit and respond quickly with utmost secrecy and
confidentiality; I got your address through my professional relationship in
discharging of my duties for my government. My name is Gen. Anthony Johnson.
And I was the chief of security and operations for former president Charles
Taylor of Liberia. Please protect this mail for the safety of my life and that
of my family to avoid us being tortured or killed by his left behind
Please I humbly beg you from the bottom of my heart to listen very carefully,
the situation in my country is very critical and chaos, uproar and hostilities
had brought the country to its knees and from intelligent report the center
cannot hold anymore for former president Charles Taylor and his
intense pressure from United States, United Nations, intern atonal
West African peace keeping to [Ecology] had made him former president Charles
Taylor to step aside and gone on exile and also pressure to face war crime
charges against humanity.
Listen very carefully, you know my country Liberia is very rich with diamonds,
and with my position as former chief of security and operations I have
accumulated so much diamonds which I had sold to generate close to $30 Million
over the years and it is this fund that I want to move to you for safe
The funds are in boxes in dollar denomination and it would be sent to you
through diplomatic courier service with your name as the beneficiary
days. Please would you do me a favor to receive this fund for me? Else the
government in power will seize the fund and plunder it. If you are capable and
know that you will truly and honestly help me, write me now, time is
no more on
I will give you 30% of the fund and I will come to your country to
take my part.
Extend a friendly hand and help me. Please bear in mind that this fund is not
loaned or stolen money but rather hard earned money generated. If you are
willing to help me in this transaction, please furnish me with the followings:
(1) Your telephone number, Fax number (Mobile phone if any)
(2) Your postal address
(3) Your full name and a little per-amble about yourself - I mean your age,
marital status, what you are doing for a living e.t.c
Gen. Anthony Johnson.