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:
- "huge amount 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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Sandra William <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 16:21:23 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Hello Dear,
Please accept my apology for barging this message into your mail box without any formal introduction as we donât know each other before. With due respect to your person and much sincerity of purpose, Please I want you to read this letter very carefully so you can understand my reasons of sending this message to you.
My name is Miss Sandra William the only daughter of my late parents Mr. /Mrs. Johnson William. My father was a great famer and cocoa merchant here in West Africa. He acquired a very large cacao plantation in Ivory Coast during his days. It is sad to say that he passed away mysteriously in France during one of his business trips; though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been masterminded by my uncle who travelled with him at that time, but God knows the truth.
My mother died when I was just 4 years old, and since then my father took me so special because I am his only child. Before his death he called his secretary who accompanied him to the hospital and told him that he made a fix deposit of a huge amount of money with a prime bank here in Abidjan, and he made me the next of kin of the fund as his only Daughter.
Now, I humbly solicit your assistance to assist me in the following ways:
(1) To provide a bank account in which this money would be transferred into
(2) To serve as a guardian of this fund since I am only 23 years old.
(3) To make arrangement for me to come over to your country to further my education and to secure a resident permit in your country.
There is no risk involved; the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law.
If you agreed to help me kindly reply me on this email address: (email@example.com) so that I can give you more details.
The death of my father actually brought sorrow to my life. Now I really need a trustworthy someone who will serve as my guardian and to manage the funds for me.
My sincere regards,
Miss Sandra William