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:
- "million 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)
- "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: Miss Hortence Amennan <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 13:20:36 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Greetings to you,
Greetings to you,
My name is Miss Hortence Amennan.H A Citizen of ivory cost Abidjan. My Mother is from Switzerland while my Father is from Ivory Cost. I was born in the year 1982, my late parent lived in Switzerland for many years before my father took me and my mother to his country Ivory Cost. My mother died in the year 2007 by a little sickness. So because of the death of my mother my father could not be able to bear the death of my mother this lead my father to heart attack which come to his death in the year 2009. My father took us to his country because he is the frist born of the family and he is the one who has to take over his late father's king Ruler ship.
So my father wanted to open up a company in his country before his death. While he was in the hospital he told me that he deposited the sum of $7.8, 320 million dollars in a finance house. He wanted to use this money to open up a company, So he told me that in case if anything happens to him that I have to look for a foreigner who will help me transfer the money to his account so that I will go out of this country because if his brothers know about the money, they will claim the fund. Therefore I am contacting you because I need your help to transfer this fund to your country so that I will come over to country for you to help me invest the money while I continue my education in your country.
If you will be able to assist me transfer this fund to your country for an investment purpose, buy a house for me and my brother Richard before coming over, we can commence. As you have read my message do get back for more details.
Miss Hortence Amennan H.