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. )
- "is 100% risk-free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "i got your address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mike" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2019 05:21:46 +0200
Subject: From Walter
FROM: Mike Walter
My name is MR. MIKE WALTER, only son of MR. LUCAS WALTER of Zimbabwe but currently residing in Johannesburg South Africa. This might be a surprise to you where I got your contact email address. Well I got your address from internet, while searching for a reliable person and also a suitable country where I can consider investing our heritance and I will trust.
Actually during the current war against the farmers in Zimbabwe from the supports of our Late Formal President Robert Mugabe to claim all the white-owned farms to his party members and his followers, he ordered all the farmers to surrender all their farms to his party members and his followers. My father was one of the best farmers in our country and because he did not support his idea, supporters invaded my father's farm and burnt everything in the farm, killing my father and made away with a lot of items in my father's farm then.
After the death of my father, I and my only sister decided to move out from Zimbabwe because our lives were in danger and decided to move to the Republic of South Africa where our fathers heritance were deposited in a Security Company as valuables items.
So, I decided to contact you someone overseas for security reason that will assist me to move this money out of South Africa for investment purpose, because we are asylum seekers here in South Africa which give us a lot of limitations here in South Africa. Note that this transaction is 100% risk-free and it requires mutual trust and absolute confidentiality.
Thanks and God bless.
Mike Walter (For the family)