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:
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Celine Coulibaly <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 00:46:42 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Hello Dear,
I'm Miss Celine Coulibaly 19 years the only child of late Mr. and Mrs. Jean Coulibaly. My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant and political godfather in Cote d'Ivoire, my father was shot to death on Januray 2011 by on known people.
Before the death of my father in a private hospital here, he secretly called me on his bed side and told me he has the sum of three million two hundred thousand united state dollars. ($3.2 millions) in an account of fixed/suspend in one of the prime bank here in Abidjan that he used my name as his only child for the next of Kin in depositing of the funds. He also explained that it was because of this wealth that he was kill and warmed me about his brother.
I want you to help me with the following:
(1) To provide a bank account that money will be transferred.
(2) To serve as guardian.
(3) To arrange for me to come to your country to continue my studies to obtain a residence permit in your country.
I will offer you 20% of the total sum as compensation for your effort after the successful transfer of this money into your nominated account. Waiting to hear from you, please reply me if you can help me sincerely.