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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Eng. Tomas Traore" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2012 04:01:29 -0700
Subject: RE: DEAR FRIEND I HAVE RUN OUT OF
I sourced your e-mail address from the internet directory as we have not
met before, but I believe you can help me. However, every relationship
begins one day I am Eng. Tomas Traore the site inspection director with
the ministry of works and construction and I work directly with the
Minister in charge of the Ministry here in Republic of Sudan.
I awarded a contract for IRRIGATION to a Portuguese firm worth several
millions of dollars a few years ago. In the course of executing the
project the firm discovered large gold deposit in one of the construction
sites. Being the site director I collaborated with the firm in the mining
of the gold on a mutual agreement to share the proceeds out of which I got
a share of $18.4 million dollars.
As an ordinary director and a mere civil servant in this small war torn
country, I cannot introduce this funds into the banking system here
considering my monthly income as well as the code of conduct guidelines
regulating civil service here in my country, Sudan. Presently Sudan is
engulfed in a civil crisis and as this crisis intensified by the day, I
decided to leave with my family and succeeded in also moving this fund out
of Sudan under diplomatic cover.
I am presently out of Sudan I therefore solicit for your co-operation to
take delivery of this fund into your custody for any profitable investment
that will be mutually beneficial. I will be able to arrange all necessary
procedures to ensure smooth movement of this funds until you are in
control of it. Please let me know if you are willing to help me by
replying this mail and also include your full names and contact telephone
number to enable a better communication between us.
I will provide you with my contact telephone and where I am presently as
soon as you indicate appreciable interest to help me go through with this
transaction. Please always reply to my private email box at:
Thanks and God bless.
Eng. Tomas Traore.