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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Coulibaly <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 19:57:31 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: PLEASE DEAR I NEED YOUR HELP
I am writing this mail to you with tears and sorrow from my heart. I will really
Like to have a good relationship with you, and I have a special reason why I
Decided to contact you.
I decided to contact you because of the urgency of my situation here, I am Miss
Hope Coulibaly 23years old girl from Ivory Coast, the only daughter of Late Dr
Mamoud Coulibaly the Director of Coulibaly Industries. Then The President Of My
Country accuse my father of coup attempt And he was killed in Attack by the
Rebels together with my mother. I am constrained to contact you because of the
Maltreatment I, am receiving from my step mother. She planned to take away all
My late father's treasury and properties from me since the unexpected death of
My beloved Father. Meanwhile I wanted to escape to the Europe but she hides away
My international passport and other valuable traveling documents.
Luckily she did not discover where I kept my fathers File which contains
Important documents. So I decided to run to the refugee camp where I am
Presently seeking asylum under the United Nations High Commission for the
Refugee here in Ouagadougou, Republic of Burkina Faso. I wish to contact you
Personally for a long term business relationship and investment assistance in
My father of blessed memory deposited the sum of US$6.5Million Dollars in Bank
With my name as the next of kin. However, I shall forward you with the necessary
Documents on confirmation of your acceptance to assist me for the transfer and
Investment of the fund.
As you will help me in an investment, and I will like to complete my studies, as
I was in my year one in the university, when the crisis started. It is my
Intention to compensate you with 40% of the total money for your services and
The balance shall be my investment capital. This is the reason why I decided to
Contact you. Please all communications should be through this email address only
For confidential purposes.
As soon as I receive your positive response showing your interest I will put
Things into action immediately. And send to you the phone contact of the Rev
Father whom is in charge of the Refugee camp for you to call me so that i will
Hear from you which is the dream of my life to hear and touch you and see you
Face to face OK, In the light of the above, I shall appreciate an urgent message
Indicating your ability and willingness to handle this transaction sincerely. I
Am staying at the female hostel. Awaiting your urgent and positive response.
Please do keep this to yourself and every commutation shall be made through this
Email address alone for confidential purpose and you should not disclose it till
I come over, once the fund has been transferred.
I will send you my pictures as soon as I Read from you again please tell me more