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:
- "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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "From Mrs. Victoria Gbagbo" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2011 13:03:28 -0700
Subject: Re: Hello
I am Mrs.Victoria Gbagbo sister to the former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and the personal assistant to his wife, Mrs Simone Gbagbo, because of the political pressure and crisis my brother and family is currently facing from the US government and the United Nations in this Country now as a result of the November 2010 Presidential Election here in Ivory Coast.
I have decided to honestly confide in you with the instruction given to me by my brother and the
wife after their arrest, to seek for the co-operation of a neutral and reputable person to receive the sum of $5.million US Dollars which a private security company here has already helped my family to lodge it with their security company in Ghana which is the closest country.
where they can move the funds to immediately cause we share a common border.
I am contacting you now based on confidence and trust I have for you to assist me in this timely project and I wait youre sincere and genuine considerations to this proposal to enable me give you further information regarding this fund and the arrangement.
Note: Kindly keep this proposal as top secret and confidential until it is successfully concluded due to our family name please as I wait your urgent response to this message.
Mrs. Victoria Gbagbo