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:
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "can i completely trust you?" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "your humble assistance" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
Fraud email example:
From: monicasmith <email@example.com>
Reply-To: monicasmith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2014 22:10:38 +0100 (GMT+01:00)
I am the only Daughter of my late parents Mr and Mrs Nelson Smith. My
father was a highly reputable business magnetic who operated in the
capital of Ivory coast during his days. It is sad to say that he passed
away mysteriously in France during one of his business trips abroad on the
12th September 2003. Though his sudden death was linked or rather
suspected to have been masterminded by an uncle of his who traveled with
him at that time. But God knows the truth! My mother died when I was just
6 yrs old, and since then my father took me so special. Before his death
on September 2003, he called me and informed me that he has the sum of
Five Million, Seven Hundred thousand United State
Dollars.(US$5,700,000.00)left in fixed deposit account in one of the
leading banks in Africa. He further told me that he deposited the money in
my name, and also gave me all the necessary but legal documents to this
fund with the bank.
I am just 21 years old and a university undergraduate and really don't
know what to do. Now I want an account overseas where I can transfer this
funds and after the transaction I will come and reside permanently in your
country till such a time that it will be convenient for me to return back
home if I so desire. This is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as
a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast. The death of
my father actually brought sorrow to my life. I also want to invest the
fund under your care because I am ignorant of business world.
I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards. Your
suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded. Now permit me to ask these
1. Can you honestly help me from your heart?
2. Can I completely trust you?
3. What percentage of the total amount in question will be good for you
after the money is in your account? Please, consider this and get back to
me as soon as possible. Immediately I confirm your willingness, I will
send to you my Picture and also inform you more details involved in this
Miss Monica Smith