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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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)
- "demurrage " (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. )
- "a security company " (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. )
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "million us 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)
- "is highly confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "Zimbabwe" 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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Richard Olds <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Richard Olds <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2012 22:52:58 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE DEAR FRIEND,
FROM MR.RICHARD OLDS.
TEL: +66- 844233527
REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE DEAR FRIEND,
You may be surprised to receive this message from me since you don't knowme in person, but for the purpose of introduction, I am MR.RICHARD OLDS,a citizen of Zimbabwe, the son of late MR. MARTIN OLDS who was murdered in a land dispute in ZIMBABWE. I got your contact through the internet, and then I decided to write you.My late father was among the few black Zimbabwean rich farmers murdered in cold blood by the agent of the ruling government of President ROBERT MUGABE for his alleged support and sympathy for Zimbabwean opposition party. Before the death of my father, he deposited the sum of Five Million US Dollars ($5M) with a security company during when he went to Thailand to purchase his farm machinery equipment, as if he foresaw the looming danger in Zimbabwe. The money was deposited as a gem / precious stone to avoid seize and much demurrage from the security organization. This money was earmarked for the purchase of new machinery and chemicals for
the farms and the estab
lishment of new farms in Lesotho and Swaziland.This land problem arose when President R. MUGABE introduced a new land Act, which wholly affects the white rich farmers and some few blacks vehemently condemned the 'MODUS OPERANDI' adopted by the government. This resulted to rampant killing and mob actions. I and my family who are currently staying in Bangkok Thailand as a refugee asylum seeker, have decided to transfer this money to a foreign country where we can invest it. You will read more stories about President Mugabe's brutal acts by visiting. This website:http://www.rte.ie/news/2000/0418/zimbabwe.html I am faced with the dilemma of investing this amount of money in Thailand because the financial law and Regulations of the Republic of Thailand do not permit us financial rights to such huge sum of money. In view of this, I cannot invest the fund in Bangkok, Thailand. Moreover, the Thailand monetary policy/law does not allow such investment by an
asylum seeker or refugee.I
must let you know that this transaction is 100% risk free and the nature of your business does not necessarily matter. So if you are willing to assist us, I and my family have agreed to give you 20% of the total money,40% will be for a joint business venture I will be doing with you and another 40% will be for the family, which we shall also invest in your country.Therefore, if you are willing and interested to render the needed assistance, endeavor to contact me through the above email address and telephone number. I also need your private telephone for quick communication. Remember that this transaction is highly confidential. Expect your reply soonest. Best regards.
For the family.