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:
- "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. )
- "might come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- ",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)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
Fraud email example:
From: " SAMUEL AND ELIZABETH" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2011 05:18:03 +0200
Subject: FROM SAMUEL AND ELIZABETH
FROM SAMUEL AND ELIZABETH
THIS LETTER MIGHT COME TO YOU AS A SURPRISED SINCE WE HAVE NOT HAD ANY PREVIOUS
CORRESPONDENCE.THIS IS AS A RESULT OF THE HELPLESS SITUATION I FOUND MYSELF INTO. MY NAME IS
SAMUEL, I AM 19 YEARS OLD BOY,I GOT YOUR CONTACT DURING MY SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE, CAPABLE AND
TRUSTWORTHY PERSON THAT CAN ASSIST ME IN THIS DARKEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE.
I LOST MY FATHER, MOTHER AND TWO SISTERS, IN A CAR CRASH WHEN OUR DRIVER WAS ABOUT TO DRIVE
ACROSS THE RAILWAY WITHOUT KNOWING THAT THE TRAIN WAS ALREADY AT THAT POINT WITH SPEED. I AM
ALIVE WRITING YOU BECAUSE I WAS FORTUNATE TO BE AT HOME WITH MY YOUNGER SISTER(ELIZABETH) AT THE
TIME OF THE ACCIDENT. I AM WRITING YOU NOW FROM OUR CHURCH WHERE I STAY NOW WITH THE FAMILY OF
OUR CHURCH PASTOR.
BEFORE MY FATHER'S SUDDEN DEATH, HE KEPT THE SUM OF US$9,000,000.00 ( NINE MILLION US DOLLARS) IN
A SECURITY COMPANY NOW THAT HE IS LATE AND I AM THE ONLY ONE LEFT BEHIND. I AM WRITING
YOU TO ASSIST ME RECEIVE THIS FUND IN YOUR COUNTRY, INVEST IT IN A PROFITABLE BUSINESS AND
RELOCATE ME TO JOIN YOU IMMEDIATELY. AS A RESULT OF INSECURITY OF LIFE AND PROPERTY HERE, I DO
NOT WANT TO STAY HERE ANY LONGER.
I GIVE ALMIGHTY GOD THE GLORY AND THANKS THAT MY FATHER DID NOT DIE IMMEDIATELY BUT HE DIED
AFTER THREE DAYS OF THE EXPLOSION.HE GAVE ME ALL THIS INFORMATION WHILE HE WAS AT THE HOSPITAL.
I WILL BE VERY GLAD IF YOU CAN ASSIST ME CONTACT THE SECURITY COMPANY WHERE MY FATHER DEPOSITED
THIS METALLIC BOX THAT CONTAINS MONEY, I AM READY TO PASS TO YOU ALL THE INFORMATION'S THAT MY
FATHER GAVE TO ME ON HOW TO GET THIS FUNDS OUT FROM THE SECURITY COMPANY IMMEDIATELY ONLY IF
YOU WILL PROMISE ME THAT I WILL NOT BE BETRAYED AT THE END, I AM PREPARED TO GIVE YOU 20% OF THE
TOTAL SUM FOR YOUR KIND ASSISTANCE.
I AM WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU .
SAMUEL AND ELIZABETH