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:
- "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. )
- "trunk box" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Maria Elena Fernandez" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2012 17:07:28 +0300 (EAT)
Subject: Remain blessed
Mrs. Maria Elena Fernandez
>From Abidjan Cote D'Ivoire
I know that this mail may reach you by surprise as we don't know ourselves before.
I am the above name person a citizen of Philippine's married to Mr. Edward Rodolfo Fernandez from cote D'Ivoire my husband was killed with my only son on February 2011 here in Cote D'Ivoire during the war, because my husband is from the same village with president Laurent Gbagbo who was arrested and detained due to his refusal to hand over power to the recognized winner of the election.
My late husband who happened to be one of the campaign managers to President Laurent Gbagbo was killed along with my only son and our family house was set blazed by the rebels.
Before this happened, there is this sum of $7.3musd (seven million three hundred thousand U.S.Dollars) which my late husband concealed in a trunk box and deposited with a security company which he declares and registered it as family valuables.
I have not told anybody about this money which I am telling you about the reason is that I want you to assist me to use the fund for the charity purpose like orphanages, widows etc.
The political situation in my country is very bad and many people have been killed on daily bases.
As the result of the shock which i had following my son and my husband death and the loss of all my properties, my doctor after examining me he told me that i have heart problem and this why I have decided to live the country for security reason.
I am waiting for your urgent reply so that I will give you all the information about this money.
I urgently need your full contact address and your telephone number for easy communication.
Mrs. Maria Elena Fernandez