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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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. )
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "MARIANA GBAGBO" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 03:12:37 -0000
Subject: MAY GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU RESPOND
Good day to you. I am MARIANA GBAGBO a sister to former president of Ivory Coast. I am 45yrs old. I saw your impressive profile on the internet and after much prayers, I was moved to contact you believing that you can be relied on to handle a very important business transaction on behalf of my family.
I am from Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire. Due to the political crisis in my country, I have fled to Togo Republic which is another french colony in West Africa.
Based on your age and business experience I am convinced you would be of great help in assisting me to receive and invest the sum of 37.5M USD which my family deposited in a security Company in Spain,with plans to have it invested outside, due to the unstable nature of African Governments.
Please bear in mind that this is not jokes or games people choose to play on the internet. My solicitation is for real and my intentions are genuine. If you are a father you may understand my situation. If I could have your attention, I would avail you with further details of my person and situation.
May God bless you as you respond.