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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "god-fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
- 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: Thomas Miller <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Thomas Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:57:07 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Request for family help
>From Mr. ThomasMiller
Johannesburg, South Africa
Telephone: + 27 710252970
Fax Number: +27 867195237
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
I am aware that you will be surprised at the receipt of thisinquiry from me. First of all, I am Mr. Thomas Miller, the son of Mr.Johnson Miller a citizen of Zimbabwe. I got your information during mysearch for a reliable and God-fearing person that can assist my family carryout investment undertakings to the volume of (USD20.5M) in your county.Â
The above amount represents proceeds from sale of my latefatherâs landed property in Zimbabwe.My late father was a famous farmer in Zimbabwe and was assassinated byforces loyal to President Robert Mugabe following the terrible crisis thatresulted from his Land Use Reform Policy, which has left thousands ofZimbabweans (including white farmers) dead or displaced.
My late father sensed these terrible developments andquickly sold his farm lands including other landed properties of the family andsecretly sent and lodged the proceeds (USD$20.5M) with a privatesecurity company in South Africa, a neighboring country. It isimportant to state here that my late father secured the funds in a deposit boxand declared content of the box as âfamily valuablesâ.
He also designated the deposit box as âtransitâ, meaning itsfinal destination is abroad. This means that the security company is not awarethat actual content of the deposit box is money. This was for obvious securityreasons. It will be important here to inform you that due to our politicalstatus in South Africa(Refugees), we are not allowed by law to invest the money in South Africa. This is why we areseeking the assistance of a foreigner to receive the money on behalf of myfamily for investment purposes.
Please be informed that my family has appointed a certainbanker by profession, a South African, who has been a friend to my family evenbefore myÂ fatherâs death, to co-ordinate the processes leading to transferof the funds to you.Â He has already drawn up the execution schedule,details of which he will oblige you upon your indication of acceptance. If youare interested to help my family in this regard, we shall give you 25%of the principal amount. Apart from this, we shall also make you aÂ partnerin all the investments we shall undertake in your country.
Lastly, I want to inform youÂ that this money representsmy familyâs future, as we do not have any other thing left for us. So, inaddition to our requirement for your confidentialÂ handling of thistransaction, we would also need an assurance from you that the funds will besafe when received in your account.Â Further details will be given to youby our financial adviser immediately you indicate interest. Please forward youralternative telephone number for easy communication.
May God bless youas you accept to assist my family with this request?
Â Best Regards,
Thomas Miller for theÂ family