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:
- "million us 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Malika Abely <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2016 05:34:52 -0400
Subject: IN GOOD FAITH
Compliment of the day , How are you doing today? I hope all is well
with you, more especially in the area of good health and sound mind,
because that's the most important thing in life. My name is Malika
Abely am 18 years liveing in Ivory Coast, West Africa. Actually, I am
an Orphand and I inherited the sum of 3.3 million US dollars from my
late father, who used to be a businessman reputable before his death.
He use to do business of cocoa and cotton out of Ivory Coast to
Europe, Asia and the Middle East exports. My father died in a car
accident few years ago when I was in my early age. I do not like to
talk about the accident, and that makes me mourn anytime I remembered
and talk about it. My father left the money in the bank and put a
clause in the contract deposit "should be 30 years of age or guardian
and provide a foreign custodian before the bank can release the money
to me as the following list of family in case if not more. that is why
I contacted you to help me to claim and transfer the money to your
country for investment, and I will also continue my education there.
As things stand at the moment, I have no body i can trust here, even
from my fathers side, because my uncles are also among those who
struggle and want me dead because of the wealth of my late father.
This country is no longer safer for me because of the political
instability here, so i have decided to move to a better place to
continue a new life. I came to you because I want to invest the funds
in your country and also complete my studies there. I made my choice
to move to your country and start a new life there, I have chosen you
to be my companion and guardian because I am an orphan as I said it
before and I have no one else to trust here. Once i receive your
response, I will then give you more information and documents on this
transaction, so you can negotiate the transfer of this funds to the
bank as my guardian and foreign custodian.
Thank you for your understanding and have a great day.