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:
- "million 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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +447031874743 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: DZN <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 11:53:06 -0500 (EST)
I am Mr. Diosdado Zam Ngueme, a citizen of Equatorial Guinea though I am currently sojourning in United Kingdom due to the unfavorable political climate in my country.
I was the Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy in Equatorial Guinea, from 2007 to 2009 before the Presidents Son; Teodorin Ngueme Obiang accused me of blowing the whistle on the property he owns in Malibu through his Sweetwater Malibu LLC, at 3620 Sweetwater Rd., Malibu, California.
So he ordered the Minister of National Security to frame me up for embezzlement. The Government has accused me of corruption and embezzlement of over US$42Million during my time as a minister. They arrested me, seized my international passport and placed me on house-arrest. But by Godâs miracle, I managed to escape to UK.
Well, the entire country knows that I am being victimized for my criticism of the undemocratic, corrupt and oppressive nature of the government. They have frozen all my accounts and seized all my properties including estate and business concerns.
They are even making effort to get the British government to extradite me to Equatorial Guinea for prosecution. Fortunately, the British government knows the charges are trumped up and politically motivated and has refused to commit to my extradition.
The reason I am contacting you is because I have some money I want you to receive, invest and manage for me in safety and confidentiality till further notice.
The amount is US$7Million (Seven Million United States Dollars), which I quietly deposited cash (in the vault) with a private security and vaults company.
I will disclose the location and all necessary information to you in my next email.
It is a standard constitutional requirement that government officials do not hold foreign accounts; this is why I had the fund deposited cash in the vaults of a security company. Fortunately, it has turned out now to be a blessing.
If it were deposited in a bank account, even outside the country, I am sure the government would have located it with the help of the forensic accountants they hired to scout around the world to see if any bank account could be linked to me.
So as you can see, this fund is my life and everything to the future of my family.
Please call or email me as soon as you read this email. It would not take more than a week to get all the documentations regularized to strengthen your position to receive the fund on my behalf. I know I have to issue a power of attorney to you on that effect.
As for compensation; you would take 15% as your compensation, while you would invest and manage the remaining 85% for me if you have the necessary managerial skills and experience. Otherwise, it could be kept for me in an escrow account.
The only thing that worries me is if you would not disappear as soon as this deposit is released to you. This is giving me a lot of concern.
Diosdado Zam Ngueme.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org