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)
- ",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)
- "time is not on our side" (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: "Engr.George Egobia" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 12:47:57 +1200 (PETST)
Subject: CLASSIFIED INFORMATION.RESPOND ASAP!!!
Good day Mr.Lee,
Due to your good nature with others, I want to propose a very interesting
deal to you.
I work with Deposit Trust House, a Security and Trust company in Republic
of Benin,West Africa,as the operations manager.
Actually,there is one very big customer of our company,he is an american
by name Elijah Miller,he had $252,000,000.00(two hundred and fifty two
million)united states dollars with our company and I was his
representative in our company.
Last three months he came and collected $2,000,000.00(two million
dollars)cash and said if he arrives in his country he was going to send us
his banking details,so that we can remit his remaining balance of
$250,000,000.00.But I have not heard from him since then.
Just three weeks ago his secretary that he came with to our company,called
me and said Mr. Elijah had instructed her to send me the bank account were
we are to remit the remaining $250million,because he(elijah) was sick.She
sent me all the necessary confidential documents and said Elijah gave it
to her,so there was nothing we could do but to start remittance of the
fund bit by bit.
But before we started remitting the money,I called Elijah's line and his
wife picked up the phone and to my greatest surprise,she said Elijah had
died in a car crash a month ago.That was when I understood that the
secretary must have stolen all those documents from his office vault
immediately he died and she is now claiming the funds on his behalf,but I
kept quite so that I can also get my share.
I have made a perfect plan with the remittance director,who is my only
partner in this deal because of his position.We are crediting the account
she sent with just $2.5million per week,with the excuse that the
government will not allow more than that to go out per week.Which is a lie
to slow down the remittance so that we can get someone to use in making
What we want you to do now is to supply us your banking details so that we
can credit your account as elijah's partner and you can take 25% of the
total amount credited to your account and give us the rest as our share.
Please consider this proposal quickly and reach me immediately with your
answer because time is not on our side.
I am waiting,
Engineer George Egobia.