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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Koffi Agnes <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2014 10:27:05 +0100
Subject: Miss Agnes Koffi and Ali Koffi
I know that my message will come to you as a surprise since I dont know you in person or met with you before.
am Miss Agnes Koffi, 22 years old girl and my junior brother is Ali
Koffi 20 years old boy we are from Cote d'Ivoire in West Africa
Regions,we are the children of late Mr. Michel Koffi who was murdered by
lebels last two years and my late father was cocao merchandise and
special adviser to our Ex.President Mr.Laurent Ghagbo.
death of my late father he had a money a deposited with a Bank in
Abidjan Cote D'Ivoire that contains the sum of $5,000,000 (Five Million
United States Dollars).
Please, I need your assistance to enable
the Bank transfer the money to your country for the investments purpose
also in order to be our guardian.
I am willing to offer you reasonable percentage from the total money as compensation for your effort.
Miss Agnes Koffi and Ali Koffi