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:
- "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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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: "MR TONY NKOSI" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2012 19:11:36 +0200
Subject: FROM TONY NKOSI
I only got your contact details from the South Africa Exchange Information On-line Service on my personal programmed search on the internet for a reputable company or individual to assist me sincerely & confidential which your information & profiles were very satisfactory, so I decided to contact you immediately. It is my great pleasure to write you this letter .
Within the Department of Minerals & Energy where I work as a Director of Audit and Project Implementation, I have in my possession an overdue payment in US funds. The said funds represent certain percentage of the total contract value executed on behalf of my Department by a foreign contracting firm, which, I the official over-invoiced to the amount of US$32,000, 000.00 (Thirty Two Million US Dollars). Though the actual contract cost has been paid to the original contractor, leaving the excess balance unclaimed.
Since the present elected Government is determined to pay foreign contractors all debts owed, so as to maintain good relationship with foreign governments and non-government agencies, we included our bills for approvals with the Department of Finance and the South Africa Reserve Bank (SARB). I am seeking your assistance to front you as beneficiary of the unclaimed funds, since I am not allowed to operate foreign accounts.
Details and change of beneficiary information upon application for claim to reflect payment and approvals will be secured on behalf of you/your Company. I have to propose that should you be willing to assist me in this transaction your share as compensation will be (35%), I receive (60%) and the balance of (5%) for taxation and miscellaneous expenses incurred during the transfer process. The business is completely safe and secure, provided you treat it with Utmost confidentiality. It does not matter whether you/your Company does contract projects, as a transfer of powers will be secured in favor of you/your Company. Also, your area of specialization is not a hindrance to the successful execution of this transaction. I have reposed my confidence in you and hope that you will not disappoint me. Your urgent response please. Thanks for your co-operation. Contact me on this number +27-839284058 for more information's.
N.B Please email your confidential Telephone and Fax numbers to enable me contact you for further clarifications
MR TONY NKOSI.