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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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: "Mr.Antonio Savimbi" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 11:36:10 -0800 (PST)
Subject: HAPPY VALENTINE
From:Director Project Implementation
South African Anglo Gold Corporation.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â :email@example.com
Happy New Year.
I am Mr. Antonio Savimbi, Director Project Implementation with South African Anglo-Gold Corporation in Johannesburg and a member of the Contract Tenders Board (CTB) of the above corporation. Your esteemed address was reliably introduced to me from the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry in my search for a reliable, individual/company who can handle a strictly confidential transaction, which involves the transfer of a reasonable sum of money to a foreign account.
The amount of money involved is US$35,000,000.00. This money has already been extracted from various contracts awarded by this corporation, as a result of over-invoicing masterminded by the concerned officials involved, this has been drafted to represent the final payment for a contract that has been executed to this corporation some years back, the money is now in the Reserve Bank of South Africa awaiting to claim.
Now is the optimum period to consummate this fund, following the presidential directive to all parasitical to settle all outstanding debts owed to both local and foreign contractors? In my last meeting with the Officials involved, it was unanimously agreed that 30% of the total sum will be given to you, 60% will be for us while 10% will be use to reimburse the expenses that will be incurred in the processing of this transfer.
I assure you that this transaction is 100% risk free as we have concluded every arrangement to protect the interest of everyone involved, Likewise all modalities for the successful transfer of this fund have been worked out with Ministry of finance and the Reserve Bank of South Africa to facilitate the remittance of this fund to your designated account within 72 hours after your claim has been approved.
However, I would want to believe that you are honest enough and will not raise any misgiving attitude in any aspect of the transaction, more importantly, that you will keep this transaction very confidential so as not to tarnish the confidence reposed on these officials by the Government of South Africa. If this proposal is of interest to you, then kindly contact me with above informationâs immediately.
Please treat this information as confidential.
Mr. Antonio Savimbi
Director Project Implementation.
South African Anglo Gold Corporation