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)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
Fraud email example:
Date: Tue, 03 Mar 2020 12:58:42 -0800
Subject: Good evening let us work together on this.
I hope I am not embarrassing you by contacting you through this way, it is only way I feel is safe, better and understandable to reach you.
My name is Melissa K. Joseph from Sierra Leone, but I live in Ivory Coast now in a refugee camp. I am contacting you because I need your urgent help to secure the money that my late father kept in the bank here on my name before he died. The money is in a bank here in Abidjan and will let you know the amount when I receive your response.
My father was a very rich cocoa Merchant and he deal with other minerals like gold, crude oil and diamond. He's very hard working man but he was poisoned to death by his close business partner because of the big contract he won. While he was dying in the hospital, he told me everything and advise me to run out of Sierra Leone, before his partner will get me and killed me too. This is how I ran down to Abidjan here, where I am presently in a refugee camp.
I want you to stand as my guardian before the bank and receive the money in your account, at my age I cannot be able to handle such matter and I do not want to risk my life, because this place is full of desperate people. I have gone to the bank here with the deposit document, the bank had with my father and they confirmed it clean and OK. And they are ready to transfer the money through bank to bank wire transfer as soon as you stand as my guardian.
Please I will like you to reply me so that I will give you all the information's about the bank, so that you can contact them.
And after that you will arrange for me to come over to your country and start a new life and continue my education.
I have the original copies of deposit documents in my possession and I am ready to send it to you immediately I confirm your sincerity to assist me.
I am waiting for your kind reply and may the God be with you.
Miss Melissa K. Joseph