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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "confidentiality of this transaction" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Shabangu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2011 00:25:48 -0800 (PST)
Subject: MRS. SUSAN
Minister of Mineral Resources
First, let me start by introducing myself as MRS SUSAN SHABANGU, a mother of three
children and the former Deputy Minister of Safety and Security since 29th April
1996 under the auspices of the former President of South Africa MR THABO MBEKI.
And currently Minister of Mineral Resourcesunder the new president, MR. JACOB ZUMA
After due deliberation with my children, I decided to contact you for your
assistance in standing as a beneficiary to the sum of US$30.5M (Thirty Million,
Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) You can view my profile at my
website:www.info.gov.za/gol/gcis_profile.jsp?id=1066 and read about me.
THE PROPOSAL, after the swearing in ceremony making me the Deputy Minister of
Safety and Security, my husband Mr. Ndelebe Shabangu died while he was on an
official trip to Trinidad and Tobago in 1996.
After his death, I discovered that he had some funds in a dollar account which
amounted to the sum of US$30.5M with a security and finance institution in South
Africa of which I will divulge information to you when I get your full consent and
support to go for a change of beneficiary and subsequent transfer of the funds into
your comfortable and conducive account of your choice.
This fund emanated as a result of an over-invoiced contract which he executed with
the Government of South Africa .
Though I assisted him in getting this contract but I never knew that it was
by him. I am afraid that the government of South Africa might start to
investigate on contracts awarded from 1990 to date. If they discover this money in
his bank account, they will confiscate it and seize his assets here in South Africa
and this will definitely affect my political career in government.
I want your assistance in opening an account with bankers through my banker so that
this fund could be wired into your account directly without any hitch. As soon as
the fund gets to your account, you are expected to move it immediately into another
personal bank account in your country.
I will see to it that the account is not traced from South Africa . As soon as you
have confirmed the fund into your account, I will send my eldest son with my
Attorney to come to your country to discuss on business investments. For your
assistance, I am offering you 20% of the principal sum which amounts to
US$6,100,000.00 (Six million, One Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only)
however, you have to assure me and also be ready to go into agreement with me that
you will not elope with my fund. If you agree to my terms, kindly as a matter of
urgency send me an email. Due to my sensitive position in the South African
PLEASE DO NOT CALL ON THE OFFICE LINE, BECAUSE OF THE SENSITIVITY OF THIS
TRANSACTION EXCEPT OF THE ABOVE DIRECT LINE.
I prefer you send me email than call. All correspondence must be by email to my
private email address, ( email@example.com)
If you want to speak with my Banker that is fine and okay by me. You will have to
send down you private telephone /fax number so that I can forward it to him to
reach you from time to time this is for security reasons. Please I do not need to
remind you of the need for absolute Confidentiality of this transaction must
succeed. If you do not feel comfortable with this transaction, do not hesitate to
Thanks for your anticipated co-operation and my regards to your family.
Minister of Mineral Resources,