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:
- "sani abacha" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: MOHAMMED ABACHA <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2012 23:13:06 +0100 (BST)
Subject: PLEASE I NEED YOUR HELP TO INVEST THIS FUNDS IN YOUR COUNTRY.
I am Mr. Mohammed Abacha, the son of former head of state Nigeria Gen:Sani Abacha, I want you to please help me and invest the sum of $1.5 Billion USD which my late father deposited in a security firm in Oversea before he died.
Note, We will obtain all the necessary documents that will mandate you to claim the fund as the sole beneficiary to my late father. All the change of ownership will be in your name as the beneficiary, Please if you are willing to assist me, kindly email me back so that we will proceed immediately.
After all is been done, you will take 40% out from the total sum. I believe you must have heard about my father's death and this will not come to you as a surprise but please try and understand exactly what I am talking about here. Please if you are ready to work with me, email me your willing to proceed. For security reasons call me on
I look forward for your kind update..
Mr. Mohammed Abacha.