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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- ",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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Judy Robert <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 22:04:14 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: I need your help.
I need your help.
Permit me to inform you of my desire to go into business relationship
with you after going through your profile and I prayed over it and
selected your name among other names due to the nature of my proposal,
which requires a reputable and trustworthy person. Someone who will be
kind and sincere to me.
l am Judy Robert the only daughter of late Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Robert.
My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant in Abidjan here, the
economic capital of Ivory Coast, he was poisoned to death by his only
brother (My Uncle) and his business associates on one of their business
meeting. My mother died on the 15th June 1991 and my father took me so
special because l am motherless.
Before the death of my father on 21st December 2008 in a private
hospital here in Abidjan, he secretly called me on his bedside, when I
sat down to listen to him, he started crying, when I asked him why?
(1) He complained that I am too young to be managing my life with no
one to take care of me,(2)That I have not finished my university
education as he planned for me, he revealed to me that he has a sum of
US$5.5 ,000,000.00(Five Million Five Hundred Thousand United State
Dollars) left in a security company here in Abidjan, that he used my
name as the only daughter for his next of kin in deposit of the funds
in the box.
He also explained to me that it was because of this wealth that he was
poisoned by his only brother (My Uncle) and his business associates ,
that l should stay away from them as they are evil he warned me
seriously not associate with his brother that is my uncle, that I
should seek for a God fearing foreign partner in a country of my choice
where l will transfer this money and use it for proper investment
purpose ,that I must finish my university education by the help of a
business partner abroad, that he or she should help me obtain a
resident permit in his or her country.
He also gave a standing instruction to the company that the deposit
must be transferred outside this country. According to my father, the
money was deposited as art works to avoid attracting attention to the
I am now ready to do all these since my father my bread winner is no
more. l am honorable seeking your assistance in the following ways.
(1) To serve as my guardian in your country while I will depend on your
expert advice since l am a girl of 22 years.
(2) To make arrangement for me to come over to your country in order to
further my university education and to secure a residential permit for
me in your country.
Moreover, l am willing to offer you 10% of the total sum as
compensation for your assistance in the transfer of this deposit to
Furthermore, you can indicate your option towards assisting me as l
believed that this project would be concluded within seven days you
signify interest to assist me by contacting the security company.
Hoping to hearing from you soon. May God bless you as you extend your
helping hand to the needy,
I wait your reply.