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:
- "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. )
- "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)
- "liberia" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: Miss Sonia Joseph <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2019 18:45:12 +0300
Subject: PLEASE I NEED YOUR URGENT HELP
My Dear Sir / Madam,
Good day to you , Please I am writing this personal and compassionate
letter to you because I can not help myself but you can help me out and
help yourself too. I beg you do not see this as one of the internet
crime letters you have being seeing "NO" it is because I do not have my
parents or any other relations to help me and for your honest and
trustworthiness and I decided to contact you having the hope that you
will accept my calling.PLEASE DO NOT FAIL ME.
I am Sonia Joseph from Liberia and a young lady in the university,I was
in my 3rd year in the university of Liberia studying medicine some years
ago when the Liberian civil war broke out.When the soldiers found out
that there were no more able bodied men to fight the war they started
recruiting underage boys and infants to train them on how to handle the
guns and fight, they came into our university and marched all of us out
to be recruited into the army to fight too.
Fortunately for me I was among the troupe that our commandant sent to
the vice-president's house Mr.Enoch Dogolea to fight and arrest
him,while we were searching the house for vital documents,2 other of my
friends and I picked up a locked diplomatic box and when we opened it
latter it contained $45m (Forty - Five Million Dollars Only) which he
wanted to take secretly to abroad for banking and we were able to get a
red cross woman who led us to a security company where it was deposited.
As I told you I am undergraduate I want an honest person like you who
will collect the money/box and keep it safe and I will come to meet you
NOT who will bring out the box / money and RUN AWAY WITH IT because
graduating as a MEDICAL DOCTOR from the university is very paramount and
important to me.
Please ma I want you to help me, my problem now is that I want to go
back to school and finish my studies to become a medical doctor, I do
not have bank account to receive the big money and I can't collect the
box from the security company this the reason I contact you I will be
very grateful if you help me bring the box/money on my behalf so that I
can go back to school. I will send to you more information you may need
to collect the money/box.We will discuss what you will take after you
collected the box/money as you reply me now.
Thanking you for your understanding and cooperation and waiting for your