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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "urgent business proposition" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2013 22:01:12 -0500
Islamic Financial Trust ZA
Dr. Pravin Gordham
My name is Dr. Pravin Gordham, an account officer with the Islamic Financial Trust in South Africa.
I am writing to you to inform you about a business partnership which involves the sum of $15,000,000.00 (Fifteen Million United States Dollars).
The above stated funds was deposited in our financial vault by the ousted Tunisian president Mr.Zine Al-abidine Ben Ali about 8 months ago; based on the circumstances surrounding the president, all his assets has been frozen and other business owned by him has been seized.
The above stated funds are still safe and nobody knows about this fund because as his account officer i made sure that the account was opened in a non-existent name and under a business franchise here in South Africa, and the funds cannot be moved in my name because i am an employee at the financial institution where the funds are been deposited.
I plead for your assistance as a partner to move this funds out of africa in your name to your country for further investments; the ratio of sharing shall be 45% for you as a partner and 45% for me, the remaining 10% shall be used for repayment of any expenses which might be incurred during the process of getting these funds across to your country.
Please note that this transaction is 100% legal and risk free and since i am currently working for the bank where the funds are currently deposited, the transaction shall be smooth and effective.
This is a very urgent business proposition and must be treated as such; please send to me your details as requested below to enable us proceed with this transaction:
MOBILE TELEPHONE NUMBER:
COPY OF I.D OR DRIVERS LICENSE:
As soon as these details are received, i shall draft an agreement with the aid of an attorney to bind us together in this partnership, once the agreement is signed by both parties then we can apply to the foreign exchange department to issue and dispatch a Draft/Cheque in your name to the tone of the above stated funds.
I await your urgent response.
Dr. Pravin Gordham