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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "transaction is risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "mbali" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2014 16:57:39 +0200
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL PROPOSAL
Attn: Dear Friend,
My name is Mr. MR.PATRICK MBALI. I am a South African and currently working with a Finance Institution. We offer short term Loans which are tailored to meet important Financing needs in the Agricultural production circle in South Africa.
I am contacting you to partner with me to secure the funds ($34M) kept in the custody of a bank in South Africa by one of former associate of the Late president of Libya who is now deceased. The fund was deposited as an investment fund in 2010 with an open beneficiary. The fund has been with the Bank without anybody coming up for the claims.
I honestly seek your assistance to move this fund into your custody for safe keeping as the depositor has no known Next of kin.
I have all the documents necessary to claim the funds as I am directly involved in the deposits. All I need to do is to make you the beneficiary of the fund by filling your name in the appropriate documents and immediately move the funds out of its present place in your name to your account for safe keeping. The funds will be used for investment purposes in your country.
This process will not cost you any money upfront .We decided to this as we know the circumstances surrounding the deposits and knowing very well that the depositor of the fund will not come back to claim the funds..I will send to you all the documents relating to this deposit and direct you on how to apply for the fund. I will give you further details when I receive your response .I will ensure all procedures to see the successful completion of this project.
I assure you that this transaction is risk free .Be rest assured that we will not encounter any difficulty as the person directly involved in approving the release of the fund is also participating in this transaction.
This transaction is Legal and we propose a 70-30% sharing pattern once the fund is transferred to your Account.
Please keep this very confidential, let me know if you will be of any assistance.
Contact me with my private email: firstname.lastname@example.org