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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "a security company " (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 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 next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Monique Bishikwabo <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Monique Bishikwabo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2014 00:20:17 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Dear Friend,
I know you will be surprise to read my email, apart
from being surprise you may be sceptical to reply back to me because,
based on what is going on in the internet world, one has to be very
careful , because a lot of scam are out there to scam innocent citizen
and this has made it very difficult for human being to believe anything
that comes through the internet but this is a different case. lf you are
willing to show me your honest and trust, i think i will be able to
work with you. Am a Congolese citizen and you should be rest assured
that i cannot be involved in scam. I am Monique Bishikwabo , a wife of a
former minister in Democratic Republic of Congo.I am writing you to
seek your help to claim our cash of $4.9 Million Dollars and Gold that
was deposited with a security company by my late husband Mr
Tshiumbaka Bishikwabo, who was assassinated during this current civil
My late husband did not declared the real contact of the 02
metallic boxes to the security company officials. He only told them that
the metallic boxes is containing family valuable documents, Diamond and
gold inside the boxes. You are the only person I have sent this message
across to. I will like you to keep the secret of this fund until it
arrival your country. My late husband, Mr Tshiumbaka Bishikwabo, a
native of Tutsis in the eastern province of DR Congo, he was a Gold and
Diamond dealer before he became a Minister and later died in the peak of
the civil war, between the rebels forces (CNDP) and the government of
Congo. I want you to help me claim the fund and transfer it into your
bank accounts in your country. To make a good arrangement for a joint
business investment on our behalf in your country and you will manage
the investment there.
Mrs Monique Bishikwabo