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:
- 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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "may come to you as a surprise" (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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is highly confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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: Mrs Graca Machel Mandela
Date: Sat, 7 Nov 2015 09:56:53 +0200
Subject: FROM MRS GRACA MACHEL MANDELA,PLEASE I NEED YOUR HELP
Mrs Graca Machel Mandela
19th 4th Street Houghton Estates
Johannesburg South Africa
This letter may come to you as a surprise due to the fact that we may have not yet met. I could have notified you about it at least for the sake of your integrity. But please accept my sincere apologies.
I am Mrs Graca Machel Mandela the wife to late Nelson Mandela The former President of South Africa from 1994 till1999 who pass away on December 5, 2013 after long time illness on his physical, I managed to get your contact details through your Country Online services here in Johannesburg South Africa in my desperate search for a trustworthy person to assist me in this confidential business transaction,
As the Third wife of late Nelson Mandela, My late husband deposit cash the trust fund account on my name here in south Africa, for self keeping and as they all know that I am originally from Portuguese East Africa Mozambique, he did this because he knew that once he death, the entire familyâs and the ex wifeâs will come toward me for his heritance, now after his death the whole family have come as my late husband Nelson Mandela do inform me, it really looks like he know what will happen after his death,
Opposing me that I should hand over the asset to them, and good a thing that when my late husband deposited the money into the trust fund account on my hand we used my son name Mr Malengani Machel, who is currently living here in Johannesburg South Africa, for security reason,
My late husband, Nelson Mandela, made this deposit here in South Africa for my family use amount to US$60.5 MILLIONS (Sixty Millions, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) in cash. This amount of money was deposited into the bank here in South Africa through political diplomatic channels, After his death, I and my son being in Johannesburg, South Africa, decided to transfer this money out of South Africa for my family use since it is the only money that my family can lay hand on and I have all the original depositary documents of the money that was kept on my name
In acknowledgment of executive powers and the various business opportunities in your country, I am requesting your assistance in helping me transfer this money into your company/ personal or business account. For your assistance in this transaction, I offer you 20% of the total sum for compensation. And all other expenses you incur during this operation will be credited to you.
Please do not hesitate to contact my son Malengani Machel or me. All documents concerning this transaction will be made available to you for your safety and as a proof that this money is not from any criminal origin. I must then emphasize that this operation/transaction is highly confidential and is to be kept as such. Kindly provide me with your full names, private phone and address or you can email me at (email@example.com)
Mrs Graca Machel Mandela
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