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:
- "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)
- "my direct line" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- 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: elizabeth peters <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 12:33:13 +0200
Subject: VIEW THE ATTACHMENT FILE AND GET BACK TO ME
FROM MRS. ELIZABETH
Firstly, let me start by introducing myself as Mrs.
Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, I am visually impaired Widow, a mother of two children
and former Premier of the Northern Cape Province (22 April 2004 - 10 May 2009)
under the auspices of the former President of South Africa, Mr Thabo Mbeki. I
am now the Minister of Transport of the Republic
of South Africa (from 10 July 2013),
in the Zuma administration, and I am the former Minister of Energy of the Republic of South Africa since 11 May 2009-July 2013
under the auspices of the new President of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma.
I got your contact curtsey in our foreign information
exchange in South Africa on a personal request in search of a reliable and
trustworthy foreign individual, though we have not met before, 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(
http://www.info.gov.za/gol/gcis_profile.jsp?id=1024 ) Elizabeth Dipuo Peters
and read about me, My husband Mr. John N. Peters died during Apartheid Crises
in South Africa in 1986,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 into your comfortable and conducive account of
your choice for investment, and my late husband kept this fund for a purpose of foreign investment
for my children.
This fund emanated as a result of an over-invoiced contract
which he executed with the Government of South Africa.
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)
and 5% will be for any expenses that both of us may Incur during this
transaction. And another 5%will go for Motherless babies home. 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 email only: email@example.com
You can contact me on my direct line+27-83-422-7572, so that
we can talk more about the transfer, Please I do not need to remind you of the
need for absolute Confidentiality of this transaction.
My regards to your family.
Mrs. Elizabeth Dipuo Peters
Minister of Transport