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:
- 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:
- "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.
- 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: lora celine <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 07:52:07 -0800 (PST)
Subject: From: Ms. Lora Celine
From: Ms. Lora Celine
Abidjan, Cote DâIvoire.
I am Ms.Lora Celine, The only child of late Chief Joseph Kulu, My Late father was a wealthy cocoa merchant based in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast, West Africa before his death.
I would like you to permit me to apply through this medium for your co-operation and to secure an opportunity to invest and do joint relationship and business with you in your country. This is because I inherited an important sum from my late father who died during the political crisis in Ivory Coast.
Before his death he informed me near his hospital bed at Chu-teaching hospital, that he has saved the total sum of ($3.500.000) Three Million Five hundreds thousand United States Dollars, in a local bank here, He also gave me the deposit slip which he used to made the deposit. He deposited the money with his name and my name as the next of kin.
Now, I intend to invest this fund in a profitable business in your country of which you are to advise and execute the said venture over there for the mutual benefits of both of us.
I have decided to invest this money in your country or anywhere safe enough for security reasons. If you can be of any assistance to me I will be pleased to offer to you 10% of the total fund.
This fund is legitimately acquired by my late father from sales of cocoa and coffee and diamond dealings, Thank you for your understanding.
Please, reply to my private email address: email@example.com