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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "confidentiality of this transaction" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "Mrs. Susan Shabangu" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 11:32:40 +0200
Subject: PLEASE I NEED YOUR HELP
MRS SUSAN SHABANGU
Minister of Mineral Resources
of South Africa since May 2009
First, let me start by introducing
myself as. MRS SUSAN SHABANGU, a mother of three children and the Minister of
Mineral Resources since 11 May 2009 to
date under the auspices of the President of South Africa MR THABO MBEKI.
After due deliberation with my
children, I decided to contact you for your assistance in standing as a
beneficiary to the sum of US$30.5M (Thirty Million, Five Hundred Thousand
United States Dollars Only) You can view my profile at my website (www.gov.za) click on, Contact Information, then click on
Deputy Minister, and click on Safety and Security finally, click on My Name
Susan Shabangu and read about me.
THE PROPOSAL, after the swearing
in ceremony making me the Minister of Mineral Resources, My Husband Mr. Ndelebe
Shabangu died while he was on an official trip to Trinidad and Tobago in 1996.
After his death, I discovered that
he had some funds in a dollar account which amounted to the sum of US$30.5M
with a security and finance institution in South Africa of which I will divulge
information to you when I get your full consent and support to go for a change
of beneficiary and subsequent transfer of the funds in to you a comfortable and
conducive account of your choice.
This fund emanated as a result of
an over-invoiced contract which he executed with the Government of South
Africa. Though I assisted him in getting this contract but I never knew that it
was over-invoiced by him. I am afraid that the government of South Africa might
start to investigate on contracts awarded from 1990 to date. If they discover
this money in his bank account, they will confiscate it and seize his assets
here in South Africa and this will definitely affect my political career
I want your assistance in opening
an account with bankers through my banker so that this fund could be wired into
your account directly without any hitch. As soon as the fund gets to your
account, you are expected to move it immediately into another personal bank
account in your country.
I will see to it that the account
is not traced from South Africa. As soon as you have confirmed the fund into
your account, I will send my eldest son with my Attorney to come to your
country to discuss on business investments. For your assistance, I am offering
you 20% of the principal sum which amounts to US$6,100.000.00 (Six million One
Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) However, you have to assure me and
also be ready to go into agreement with me that you will not elope with my
fund. If you agree to my terms, kindly as a matter of urgency send me an email.
Due to my sensitive position in the South African Government,
PLEASE DO NOT CALL ON THE OFFICE
LINE, BECAUSE OF THE SENSITIVITY OF THIS TRAN SACTI ON EXCEPT OF THE ABOVE
I prefer you send me email than call. All correspondence must be by email to
private e mail address, [email@example.com}if
you want to speak with my Banker that is fine and okay by me. You will have to
send down you private telephone /fax number so that i can forward it to him to
reach you from time to time this is for security reasons. Please I do not need
to remind you of the need for absolute Confidentiality of this transaction must
succeed. If you do not feel comfortable with this transaction, do not hesitate
Thanks for your anticipated
co-operation and my regards to your family.
of Mineral Resources
of South Africa since May 2009
private e mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org