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:
- "demurrage " (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. )
- "million 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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "Zimbabwe" scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rediffmail, India; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- tel: + 27-78-74-90000 fax: +27-86-61-74259 email:email@example.com e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org greetings, you may be (Rediffmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "From:Mr.Johnson Freeman & Family." (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 8 Mar 2014 04:50:07 -0500
Subject: TRANSFER NEGOTIATION.
FROM: JOHNSON FREEMAN
TEL: + 27-78-74-90000
You may be surprise to receive this letter from me since you don't know me personally. First I wish to apologize for this unsolicited mail; I knew this is an unconventional way of establishing a business relationship due to high volume of scam emails nowadays. My name is JOHNSON FREEMAN the son of Dr. PETER FREEMAN who was murdered in the land dispute in Zimbabwe.
Thus, having sourced your email contact through private internet Research for a reliable and reputable person to handle a very confidential transaction which involves a transfer of fund to a foreign account and I decided to write you, My Late Father was among the few Black Zimbabwean Rich Farmers murdered in Cold Blood by the agents of the ruling government of President Robert Mugabe for his alleged support and sympathy for the Zimbabwean opposition party controlled by the white minority. Before his death he went to Johannesburg South Africa and deposited the sum of US$ 30.000,000 Million (Thirty Million United States Dollars) with a Security and Finance Company as if he foresaw the looming danger in Zimbabwe. The money was deposit in a Box as valuables to avoid much demurrage from the Security Company. This money was embarked from the purchase of New Machinery and Chemical for Farms and the establishment of new farms in Lesotho and Swaziland.
This land problem arose when President Robert Mugabe introduced a new land act that wholly affected the Rich White Farmers and some few blacks vehemently condemned the 'Modus Operandi' adopted by the government. This resulted to rampant killing and mob action by the war veterans and some political thugs. Precisely, more than hundreds of people have so far been killed.
Heads of governments from the west, especially Britain and United States of America have voiced their condemnation of Mugabe`s plan. Subsequently, South African Development Community (S.A.D.C) has continuously supported Mugabe's new land act, it is against this background that I and my family who are currently residing in South Africa have decided to transfer my Father's money into a Foreign Account.
As the only son of my Father, I am saddled with the responsibility of seeking a genuine foreign account where this money could be transferred without the knowledge of my government who are tactically freezing our family wealth and South Africa's government seems to be playing along with them.
I am faced with the dilemma of investing this money in South Africa for fear of encountering the same experience in future since both countries have almost the same political history. More so, the South African Foreign Exchange policy does not allow such investment hence we are seeking for an 'ASYLUM. As a business person whom I entrusted my future and that of my family into his hands, I must let you know that this transaction is 100% risk free and the nature of your business does not necessarily matter. For your assistance, we are offering you 20% of the total sum, 70% for me and My Family while 10% have been mapped out for any expenses we may inure during the course of this transaction. We wish to invest our part of the money on Commercial property based on your advice.
Finally, all we demand from you is assurance that you will not sit on this money when it finally gets to your personal or company's account in your country. If this proposal is acceptable by you, please confirm your interest via the above TEL number or E-MAIL me.
FROM: JOHNSON FREEMAN
(FOR THE FAMILY)