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:
- "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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
- 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:
From: kanji martin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: kanji martin <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2013 07:10:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Dear Respectful one,
Dear Respectful one,
I am writing this letter in confidence believing that if it is the
wish of God for you to help me, God almighty will bless and reward you
abundantly and you would never regret.
I am 21yrs old. A student from Republic of Cote Ivoire Abidjan. I am
the only child of late Mr.& Mrs. K. martin. My father died earlier
some months ago and left me the only daughter behind.
I am the only person who can take care of his wealth and my mother is
not literate enough to know my entire father's wealth. He left the sum
of USD 4,400,000.00 (four Million, Four Hundred Thousand Dollars) in a
financial Bank here. This money was annually paid into my late
father's account from Shell petroleum development company SPDC) and
chevron oil company operating in our locality for the compensation of
youth and community development in our jurisdiction.
I don't know how and what I will do to invest this money somewhere in
abroad, So that my father's kindred will not take over what belongs to
me, which they were planning to do without my present because I am a
female as stated by our culture in the town.
I will need your assistance as follows:
1) To assist me in retriving this money from the bank.
2) To serve as the guardian of this fund.
3) To make arrangement for me to come over to your country to further
my education and to secure a residential permit in your country.
I am ready to offer 15% of the total amount to you if you help me in
this transaction and another 10% interest of Annual after Income to
you, for handling this transaction for us, which you will strongly
have absolute control over.