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:
- "bank charges " (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. )
- "million 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: Mrs Edna Wallace <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Mrs Edna Wallace <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 4 May 2017 23:12:58 +0900 (JST)
Subject: VERY URGENT
Thanks so much for welcoming me, My name is Frank Peter, my father is a former governor of the oil producing state in Angola, because of the oil and political interest, they killed my father, in the year 2012, my father married three wives, two from Angola, my mother the last is from Ivory coast, am the only child of my mother which is the last wife of my late father.
After the death of my father the first two wives from Angola joined together to fight my mother because of large estate of my father and money, so my mother had to run away with me to her home country which is called Ivory coast.
One night my mother called me frank my only son and i answered yes mummy, she told me my son, when your late father was alive after i gave birth to you, he deposited 11.5 million dollars in one of the bank here in Ivory coast for your future, that we have to go to the bank for this fund, so my mother and i went to the bank and met the bank director and the bank director confirmed the fund.
But my mum died 3 weeks after this meeting with the bank. Now the agreement letter that was made by my late father with the bank is that i will be up to 25 years old or i should present someone abroad who will stand as my guarantor or guardian.
After few months my mother died and i was left alone. Please i want you to help me and i promise to give you 20% of this fund and 10% for the bank charges You will manage the rest 70% in any good investment you know in your country and put me in school for my university education
Am expecting to hear from you immediately with the following details that i will submit to the bank director.