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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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)
- "00,000.00" (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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: martins weise <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2014 14:11:10 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Confidential Investment Inquiry
Mr Martins Weise
Â I'm Mr Martins Weise a financial consultant based in Cape Town South Africa. I have a client (a widow) she is the wife of the Late President Of Ghana Dr.John Atta Mills, who suddenly died on the 24th July, 2012 and she is now residing in South Africa and she has Funds here (USDM35, 000,000.00) Thirty Five Million United States Dollars with a Private Equity Investment Trust Company which her husband deposited to the security company here for safe keeping only.
She wishes to invest in a stable economy outside Africa and her interest is in companies with potentials for rapid growth in long terms. My client is interested in placing part of her funds into your company or private businesses, if your country's bi-laws allow foreign Investors/investment. You can contact me for more details via my mobile Phone or e-mail with your reference.
Note: The fund is free from drug and laundering related offenses.
Mr Martins Weise