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:
- "account in your country or any safer place" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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: Sarah Koffi <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Sarah Koffi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 17:21:47 +0900 (JST)
Subject: WITH RESPECT FROM MISS SARAH
WITH RESPECT FROM MISS SARAH
I am Sarah Koffi. My parents Mr.and Mrs.Jerry Koffi were assassinated here in IVORY COAST. Before my father's death he had US$12.5M (TWELVE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) deposited in a bank here in Abidjan.
I want you to do me a favour to receive these funds to a safe account in your country or any safer place as the beneficiary. I want to come over to your country for the safety of my life from the hands of this wicked assasins.
I have plans to do investment in your country, like real estate and industrial production. This is my reason for writing to you and I am willing to offer you 20% out of the total funds for assisting me, Please if you are willing to assist me, reply me with your direct phone number.