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:
- "might come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand us 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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Juliet Attah <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Juliet Attah <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 05:48:32 +0900 (JST)
Subject: WITH DUE RESPECTFUL
I am writing this mail with tears and sorrow to seek for your assistance
regards to my situation since the death of my parents, I know this letter might
come to you as a surprise because we have not met each other or see face to
face before. My name is Ms. Juliet Attah Iâm from Benghazi âLibya, I am 22
years old female.
My father (General Hamed Makenze Attah) He was shot to death by Islamist-linked
militant troops within the anti-Gaddafi forces on 28th July, 2011 and after two
days my mother with my two brothers was Killed one early morning by the rebels
as result of civil war that going on in my country Libya. I am now writing to
seek for your assistance from Cote DâIvoire West Africa, where I managed to
escape to nearby country through the help of United Nation after the death of
my parents, and now seeking asylum in Refugee Camp here in Cote DâIvoire.
Meanwhile, the main reason why I am seeking for your assistance is because of
FUNDS my late father deposited in one of the prime Bank here in Cote DâIvoire.
In my name as his next of kin which amount is (9.5M) NINE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED
THOUSAND US DOLLARS cash and he deposited it with the Bank here in Cote
DâIvoire. However, I have being advised by the Imam at the camp to look for a
foreign partner who will stand as my trustee to claim the FUNDS on my behalf
due to my refugee status. It is my intention to compensate you with 20% of the
total money for your services and the balance shall be my capital investment in
your country through your help.
Please get back to me if you are interesting by assisting me claiming the fund,
so that I will give you all the details and contact of the Bank here in Cote
DâIvoire. Where this FUNDS was deposited. I want the FUNDS to be transferred to
your country before I come over to your country to continue my education,
honestly I am really suffering since I arrived in this country, it is too
painful, but I hope with your help I will have FUNDS transferred to your
country and continue there to secure my life and continue my studies.
As soon as I receive your interest in assisting me, I will send you more
details. In the light of the above, I shall appreciate an urgent message
indicating your ability and willingness to handle this transaction.
From Ms. Juliet