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:
- "dearest one," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "former president of liberia" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "liberia" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
Fraud email example:
From: KONE <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2012 09:34:11 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: FROM MISS MARY KONE
FROM MISS MARY KONE
REPUBLIC OF COTE-D'IVOIRE
Avenue 17Rue 22 ABIDJAN
I am Miss MARY KONE residence in Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire , I m' 23 years of age and I love some hobbies like football, music, reading navels, watching TV and also outing.
I'm the only daughter of late Mr. and Mrs. Lambert Kone. My father was the special adviser to the former president of Liberia Mr. Charles Taylor. I and my father came down to reside in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) when our president went to exile and my father later die of heart attack. Before his sudden death in a private hospital here in Abidjan, he called me on his bedside and told me about the sum of $3.5 million US Dollars he deposited with a Bank here in Abidjan and he used my name as his beloved daughter as the next of kin in depositing the fund. And he advised me that I should seek for a foreign partner in a country of my choice where I will invest the money.
I am humbly seeking for your assistance, to help me transfer it to your country for investment. To serve as the guardian of the money and the investment since I am still a student. And to make arrangement for me to come over to reside in your country to further my education as soon as the fund is in your guide.
Thanks as you made up your mind to help an orphan like me.
Please, I urge you to make this transaction confidentiality within your heart for security purposes.
MISS MARY KONE