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:
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "can i completely trust you?" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "your humble assistance" (a common phrase found 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "JOHNSON KUMOH" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 14:56:58 +0800
Subject: URGENT ATTENTION NEEDED.
I am writing this letter with due respect and heartfelt of tears since we have not known or met ourselves previously. I am John Kumoh and I have inherited fund from my late father Chief Joseph Kumoh who died in recent crisis in Cote d'Ivoire.
I wish to request for your assistance in investing this sum in lucrative venture or manufacturing and real estate management in your country.
I have Six million, Five hundred thousand United State Dollars. USD($6.500,000) to invest and I will require your assistance in receiving the fund into your account. I will be glad to give you some reasonable percent from the total sum for your assistance.
Before the death of my father, he gave me all the necessary legal documentation concerning the deposit of the fund in the bank, I am 21 years old and a university undergraduate and really don't know what to do as I am in asylum Nigeria at the moment.
Now I want an account overseas where I can transfer this funds and after the transaction I will come and reside permanently in your country till such a time that it will be convenient for me to return back home if I so desire.
This is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast.
The death of my father actually brought sorrow to my life. I also want to invest the fund under your care because I am ignorant of business world.
I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards.
Please Contact me with this e-mail (email@example.com> )
your suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded.
Now permit me to ask these few questions:
1. Can you honestly help me from your heart?
2. Can I completely trust you?
3. What percentage of the total money will be appreciated by you?
Please, consider this and get back to me as soon as possible.