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:
- "please indicate your willingness" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "necessary legal documents" (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. )
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "your humble assistance" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +22566220226 (Cote d'Ivoire, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: Eric Kouassi <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2011 12:34:53 +0100 (BST)
Subject: from Eric Kouassi
from Eric Kouassi
Blvd de Latril 01 BP 0021
Abidjan. Cote dIvoire,
I deep it a respect and humble submission, I plead to state the following few lines for your kind consideration, I hope you will spare some of your valuable minutes to read the following line with sympathetic mind. I must confess that it is with great hopes, joy and enthusiasm that I write you this email which I know and believe by faith that it must surely find you in good condition of health.
My name is Eric Kouassi; I am an orphan by the want of destiny and the only child of late Mr. Rodrique Kouassi. My father was doing fine in his business during his days in the capital of Ivory Coast. It is sad to say that he passed away here when he was brought home from from France where they went for business on the 19th February 2011 after the sickness has become serious. Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been masterminded by an uncle of mine who travelled with him at that time. But God knows the truth! My mother died 2002, and since then my father took me so special, and did not remarry..
Before the death of my father, he called me and informed me that he has the sum of Five Million, Six Hundred thousand United State Dollars.(USD$5,600,000.00) he deposited in a private Bank here in Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire. He told me that he deposited the money in my name, and also gave me all the necessary legal documents regarding to this deposit with the Bank,
I am just 22 years old and a university undergraduate and really don't know what to do. Now I want an honest and GOD fearing partner overseas who I can transfer this money with his assistance and after the transaction I will come and reside permanently in your country till such a time that it will be convenient for me to return back home if I so desire. This is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast. the death of my father actually brought sorrow to my life. I want to invest the fund under your care because I am ignorant of business world. I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in these regards. Your suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded. What percentage of the total amount in question will you take after the fund has being transferred to your account and I come over to meet you?
Please indicate your willingness to help me out save my life and this money out of my problem uncles and I promise to be honest with you. I will give you more details concerning the transaction as you contact me, with your contact details such as: Your Full Names, Home and Country Address, Direct Mobil Telephone Number and Fax with a Photo for more recognition. I will send to you the documents and also inform you more details involved in this matter in your next mail.