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:
- "might come to you as a surprise" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Nadia <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2012 08:48:24 +0900 (KST)
Subject: please help me
I am writing this mail to you with heart full of tears and sorrow, I know that this mail might come to you as a surprise because you don't know me and I also do not know you but I believe in God that you will not fail me because I did not contact you by my power as I prayed that God will touch your heart and give you the grace to help me.
My name is Miss. Nadia Jimmy, I am 19 years old Medical student in University of Sudan , I am the only child of my father of a blessed memory by name Late Mr. Jimmy Lemi Milla was the rural development minister in Sudan . You can read more about my father death in the BBC news below website:
My late father was killed by his driver whom was paid by unknown people to assailant my family but he succeeded in killing my father and the shocked death of my father leads to my mother death after 3 days of father's death. May they soul rest in perfect peace, AMEN.
I am actually in search of an honest and reliable person who will help me relocate to his country for a better life as I was advised by my late mother, I have chosen to contact you after my prayers and I believe you will not betray me now that you have known my life story. Meanwhile, 2 days later after my father's death my mother gave me the information for the secret deposit them made with a bank in Burkina-Faso. The deposit value is US$4.5 Million US Dollars only and I am presently in Burkina-Faso where my late parent's made the deposit and I have gone to the bank to confirm the deposit and establish ownership, please I need your assistance urgently in moving this fund to your country for investment and also help me relocate to your country, when my inheritance is properly secured you will have 20% of the value for your assistance.
I shall appreciate an urgent message indicating your ability and willingness to handle this transaction sincerely so that I will visit the bank to submit your account and instruct them to transfer the money to you immediately because I want to leave this refugee camp as soon as possible, life here to me is a hell, no love, no affection and no amenities, more importantly, I love my studies and here nothing is happening and people here are not friendly,I am really suffering in this place, it is too painful, but I hope with your help to transfer the fund in your account, I will have a better life to live so kindly let me know your readiness to help me and I promise to always be nice and faithful. I am waiting your urgent and positive response.
Please do keep this only to yourself please i beg you not to disclose it to anybody because I do not want to be noticed for security reasons. With due respect, I am pleading that you help me, i am giving all this detail information with every transparency believing that you will have a clear picture of the base of help i need from you and I hope you will not refuse to help me. I hope to hear from you immediately because I am suffering so much here and wish to leave as soon as possible. May truth and love be the guiding word in my refuge in you dear helper.
Ms. Nadia Jimmy