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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Richard Gama <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Richard Gama <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2013 16:43:00 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: My Dearest,
Good day, may the blessings of God be upon you and grant you the wisdom and sympathy to understand my situation and how much I need your help. Please, kindly take your time to understand the content of this email.
I am contacting you with the hope that you will be of great assistance to me. My name is Richard Gama, I am 21 years old boy from Sierra Leone. My father and I escaped from our country at the heat of the civil war after loosing my mother and two of my senior brothers in the war.
As a result of the political instability in my country even after the war, my father established his cocoa and coffee export business here in Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire ( Ivory Coast). He went to Bouake, a northern city to negociate for the purchase of a cocoa plantation when he was shot and killed by the rebel troupes fighting to take over the government of the former President Laurent Gbagbo . The death of my father has now made me an orphan and thereby exposing me to dangers.
Before his unfortunate death, my late father called me one day and told me as his only surviving Son, that he deposited the sum of $8.5 million US Dollars in a bank here in Cote D'Ivoire and my name was used as the next of kin to the deposit.
As a result of the present insecurity of lives and property in this country now, I wish to request that you assist me to transfer this fund in your destinated account for investment purposes. also to assist me with a letter of invitation that will make me get a visa to your country for residence in order for me to continue my education under your care and to invest the fund in a lucrative business venture.
I am willing to give you 20% of the money while 80% will be for investment. kindly reply me and do not fail to send me your full names and address including your telephone number so that I can inform the bank manager where my late father deposited the funds about you as my appointed beneficiary to receive the funds for an investments in your country.