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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- "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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "very 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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
- 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. FELICIA MOYO" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:36:21 +0100
Subject: Request for Confidential Business Relationship
I know you will be surprised to read from me, but please consider this letter as a request from a family in dire need of your assistance. I am Mrs. FELICIA MOYO of Republic of Zimbabwe. I am the wife of late Major Jonas Moyo of Zimbabwe; I am presently residing in Nairobi Kenya Due to our country political situation under the Dictatorship of Robert Mugabe as our President.
I got your contact through Kenyan Information Exchange (K.I.E) here in Nairobi and on behalf of my only son, Mr. Kevin Moyo, I decided to solicit for your assistance to transfer the sum of (US$35.5million) (Thirty Five Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) to your personal/ company account for investment purpose.
Before my husbands death, he was in charge of arms and ammunition purchases for the Zimbabwean armed forces. He specifically drew my attention to this sum of money (US$35.5Million), which was meant for the purchase of ammunition from Russia which he managed to divert through diplomatic means to Kenya, He deposited this sum of money with a sealed metal box as family valuables in a Security Company in Kenya without the knowledge of Zimbabwean government. He also handed over the necessary documents to me.
I want you to understand that the lives and the future of my family depend on this money, I will be very grateful if you can assist us. We are now living in East Africa Kenya as political asylum seekers and the financial laws of Kenya do not allow us (asylum seekers) certain financial rights to huge amount of money. In view of this, I and my son cannot invest this money here in Kenya; hence I am asking you to assist us to stand as the beneficiary of the Estate and transfer this money out of Kenya to your country for investment purpose.
Please note that this transaction is 100% risk free as such the Area I need help from you is for you to come to Kenya and have a face to face meeting with us and also reach an agreement regarding our investment in your Country these will enable us establish complete trust and assurance that our investment will be safe when money transferred to your account pending on our arrival in your country.
For your effort, I and my son have agreed to offer you 25% of the total sum while 5% will be set aside for international and local expenses that might be incurred during the process and 70% will be for my familys investment in your country through your advice.
Finally, The modalities on how the transfer will be done will be conveyed to you once we establish trust and confidence within ourselves. If you are willing to assist us, you can contact my son Kevin on his direct number + 254-73153-1367 OR through his private emails address: email@example.com Please reply only via ABOVE email box for confidential reasons.
Looking forward to your urgent reply and please treat this as very confidential. Thanks and God bless you.
Mrs. FELICIA MOYO
(For the family)