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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Joaquim Rafael Branco" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 18:46:57 -0400
Subject: Beneficial Offer.....
Greetings. I am Mr. Joaquim Rafael Branco of Sao Tome & Principe. I presently head my countrys main opposition party MLSTP-PSD (Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe Social Democratic party). Acting in my former capacity as minister of natural resources in 2005, during the bidding for oil exploration rights in the gulf of guinea by several oil companies, I assisted a particular company to obtain one of the licenses .The company has since commenced drilling and exploration operations and they remitted $780 million dollars to me, for my assistance at the time. I cannot introduce or circulate this amount into the banking system of my country because:
1. My provisional duty as a minister at that time allowed me to earn less than $1000 equivalent of Dobra (our local currency)
2. I am now the president of the opposition party and must be very careful in my operations since I was formally part of the government .I am determined not to give life to any of the allegations being given to the public about me or my party .
3. Due to the intense competition during the bidding for the oil exploration licenses at that time, there are now investigations into how the whole process was handled I am soliciting your co-operation to take delivery of the funds into your custody for investment purposes. 25% of the entire funds will be apportioned to you for your efforts and assistance I implore you to accord this transaction the confidentiality and secrecy it deserves no matter what your decision may be. I shall let you know the where about of the money once I get a positive response from you.
Please get back to me with your below contact details:
Your Full Name:
Telephone and Fax Number:
Awaiting your response with urgency!
Mr. Joaquim Rafael Branco
(Movement for the Liberation of
Sao Tome and Principe Social
Sao-Tome and Principe