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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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.
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "with absolute secrecy" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Samia Mukhtar" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2014 00:16:00 +0200
My Name is Dr. Mrs. Samia Mukhtar. I am a banker by profession. I hail from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa,I am sorry for this interruption. I have no other way to reach you than these ways if the contents here under are contrary to your moral ethics. Please accept my apology, but please treat with absolute secrecy and personal. I got your contact information from my personal search and my reason for contacting you is to transfer an abandoned $10,300,000.00 (Ten Million Three Hundred Thousand Dollars) to your account.
The owner of this fund is a foreigner that naturalized in my country before he died in August 2004 with his family in an auto crash, living no one for the claim of this fund in our bank. The bank wants to confiscate this fund according to the ethics of our bank because it has overstayed. I do not want this fund confiscated by the bank. This is the reason why I am contacting you.
This is a deal. I want to present you to the bank as a relation to the late customer and we shall transfer the money to your account. As soon as the deal is done and the fund confirmed in your account, the sharing ration is; 40% for you and 60% for me.
I shall send you more details of the transaction as soon as I receive your return email indicating your interest.
For confidentiality reasons, you can contact me on my private email address via email@example.com or call me on this secure line +22554660997
NB: Please delete if you are not interested and do not bother to reply.
Dr. Mrs. Samia Mukhtar.