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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "urgent assistance" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Henriette Conte <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 20:12:50 +0000
Subject: From,Mrs.Henriette Conte
My Dear Friend,
May the blessings of Allah be upon you and your family ,Amen.I am .Mrs.Henriette Conte. I am contacting you with the hope that you will be of great assistance to stand by me in this transaction.
I currently have within my reach the sum of 4.3 million U.S dollars cash which I intend to use for investment purposes.I therefore personally appeal to you seriously and religiously for your urgent assistance to stand by me and recieve this money in your country where I believe it will be safe since I cannot leave the country due to the restriction of movement imposed on the members of my family by the Government now.
This money came as a result of a payback contract deal between my husband and a Russian firm in our country.The Russian partners returned my husbands share .
Presently, the Government has intensified their probe in to my husbands financial resources which has led to the freezing of all our accounts, local and foreign, the revoking of all our business licences and the arrest of my First son.
In view of this I want to acted very fast to withdraw this money from one of our finance houses before it will be closed down.My husband deposited the money in a finance firm for safe keeping .
No record is known about this fund by the government because there is no documentation showing that we have such funds.Further more, my elder son have been in detention in the last four days following the death of my late husband for charges of State organized murder and corrupt practices, he was just been released by the Supreme Court after the goverment brokered a deal with my family regarding his freedom , and he is still under interrogation about my late husband's assets and some vital documents.
Due to the current situation in the country and government attitude to my family,I cannot make use of this money within, thus I seek your help in transferring this funds out for investment than leaving the fund here and to invest the money to profit my family Bearing in mind that you may assist me.l have decided to part with 25% of the total sum.
I am seriously considering to settle down abroad in a friendly atmosphere like yours as soon as this fund get into your account so that I can start all over again if only you wish. I shall ask my son Ousmane Conte to come over to your country to liaise with you.
If this proposal satisfies you. please do not let me out to the security as I am giving you this information in total trust and confidence and please include your personal telephone and fax numbers.
I will greatly appreciate if you accept my proposal in good faith.
Regards and Allah Bless you.