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. )
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (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: "Miss Aisha Coulibaly" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2013 13:22:36 +0200
Subject: From Miss Aisha Coulibaly
Happy Moment There,
I know this mail will come to you as a surprise since we haven't known or come across each other before considering the fact that I sourced you through the Internet in search of a trusted person like you who can assist me.
I am Aisha Coulibaly 25 years old female from Ivory Coast in West Africa, the Daughter of Late Chief Sergeant, Warlord Ibrahim Coulibaly . My late father was an Ivory Coast's best-known militiary leaders . He died on the Thursday 28 April 2011 following a fight with the FRCI," Republican Forces of Ivory Coast.
You can read more about my father in the link below to know that I am genuine and truthful but need someone to be trusted like you
I am constrained to contact you because of the maltreatment which I am receiving from my step mother. She planned to take away all my late father's treasury and properties from me since the unexpected death of my beloved Father. Meanwhile my plan is to relocate as soon as possible, but she hide away my international passport and other valuable documents. Luckily she did not discover where I kept my father's File which contained important documents. Now I am presently staying in the Mission in COTONOU REPUBLIC OF BENIN. I am seeking for long term relationship and investment assistance. My father of blessed memory deposited the sum of US$ 9Million in a SECURITY COMPANY here in COTONOU REPUBLIC OF BENIN with my name as the next of kin. I had contacted the company to clear the deposit but the Branch Manager told me that being a refugee, my status according to the local law does not authorize me to carry out the operation. However, he advised me to provide a trustee who will stand
on my behalf and that is the rea
Therefore, I decide to seek for your help in transferring the money into your bank account from here while I will relocate to your country and settle down with you. As you indicated your interest to help me I will give you the Contact details of the SECURITY COMPANY where my late beloved father deposited the money with my name as the next of kin. It is my intention to compensate you with 30% of the total money for your assistance and the balance shall be my investment in any profitable venture which you will recommend to me as I have no any idea about foreign investment. Please all communications should be through this email address only for confidential purposes.
Thanking you a lot in anticipation of your quick response. I will give you details in my next mail after receiving your acceptance mail to help me along with my picture.
>From Miss Aisha Coulibaly