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:
- "dearest one," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +22544833399 (Cote d'Ivoire, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
- 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Olivia Borrego" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 2 Apr 2016 06:08:01 -0500
Subject: VERY URGENT MAIL FROM HOSPITAL
My Dearest One,
This is Miss Olivia Borrego from Trinidad &Tobago. I am writing from the hospital in Ivory Coast , therefore this mail is very urgent as you can see that I'm dying in the hospital which I don't know what tomorrow will be. I was told by my doctor that I was poisoned and has got my liver damaged and can only live for some months.
I inherited some money ($4.5 Million) from my late father and I cannot think of anybody trying to kill me apart from my step mother in order to inherit the money, she is an Ivorian by nationality.
I want you to contact my servant with this information below:
Servant Jonathan Walter.
Address: Rue De La Princess L /G 152 Cocody
Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire.
Phone Number: +225 448 333 99
He will give you the documents of the money and will direct you to a well known lawyer that I have appointed to him, the lawyer will assist you to change the documents of the money to your name to enable the bank transfer the money to you.
This is the favor I need when you have gotten the money :-
(1) Give 20% of the money to my servant Walter as he has been there for me through my illness and I have promised to support him in life. I want you to take him along with you to your country and establish him as your son.
(2) Give 30% of the money to handicap people and charity organization, then the remaining one is yours.
Note; This should be a code between you and my Servant Walter in this transaction "Hospital" any mail from him, the barrister he will direct you to, without this code "Hospital" is not from the barrister, Walter, the bank or myself as I don't know what will happen to me in the next few hours.
(3) The lawyer's name is Bar Rufus Allen . And Let Walter send you his International passport to be sure of whom you are dealing with. Walter is so little therefore guide him.
And if I don't hear from you, I will look for another person or an organization.
Please do not forget to contact Jonathan Walter firstname.lastname@example.org
May Almighty God bless you and use you to accomplish my wish.
Pray for me always.
Miss Olivia Borrego