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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "trunk box" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "trunk boxes" (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)
- "million us 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)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Simon Peter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2011 07:42:54 -0300
Subject: God Bless You
I am Simon Peter Otu A Sudanese by Nationality. I am the Only son of
my Late Father Dr Peter Abraham Otu, The owner of Peterson and Son Gold and
Diamond Company in Sudan. Sir after the death of my father, My mother
advised me to travel to Ghana with some document showing that my late
Father Deposited Two Trunk Boxes Containing $17.5Million US Dollars with a
security Company in Ghana west Africa. I am currently in the refugee camp
because I do not have a foreign Beneficiary to stand for me to receive the
funds from the security company.
Please I cannot present myself as the beneficiary who will receive
the consignment because of my position here and I am under travel watch.
This are very legal procedures and does not go contrary to any
International Law, as you receive the funds (consignment), you will start
making arrangements for me to meet with you. But I do urge you to keep this
as confidential as possible. Also I am willing to give you 30% of the total
amount after the conclusion of this transaction as I also hope for your
understanding and Trust.
Please, I want you to tell me the area of investment you think is
profitable to invest in your country and the amount that will be your
percentage for you to assist me. It is worthy of note that this transaction
is free from any risk or troubles as my lawyer will perfect all processes
for a successful movement of the consignment to you. This transaction has
been mapped out to be hitch free. The Only problem I have now is the
person who will stand as my foreign Beneficiary in receiving the
Please, let it be known to you that I am a little bit worried, but I
have the understanding that friends are discovered and friends are made. I
have come to the understanding that I cannot achieve success without
trusting some one in this transaction. This brings us to the need for both
of us to trust and believe in one another. Let trust and honesty be our
watchword throughout this transaction.
From Simon Otu
God Bless You