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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "search for a reliable person" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr. Wiesse John<email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 13 May 2018 00:02:46 +0300
Subject: Corporation Request Letter !
Mr. John Wiesse
(DG Projects Corporate Services)
Department of Public Works South Africa
Unit 26 Sharpeville Villa
Kalksteen Avenue Centurion,
Johannesburg South Africa.
My Dear Friend,
With regards to your esteem I seek your assistance in this transfer scheme, which will be beneficial to both of us if treated with trust. I got your contact in my private search for a reliable person (s) that will assist me conclude the process of a transfer of Seventeen Million Four Hundred Thousand US Dollars (17,400,000.00) hence I write you this letter.
Due to the delicate nature of the project, I must plead for your confidence in this transaction as I am still active in my appointed duty thus required to keep this matter very confidential. I am Mr. John Weisse DG; (Projects Corporate Services) Department of Public Works SA. I and my colleague are currently in need of a silent foreign partner whose identity we can use to siphon this fund to your country within the shortest period of time. But at this moment, I am constrained to issue more details about this profitable venture until I get your response by email.
This fund was accrued from over invoiced of the original sum of the contracts awarded through Expanded Public Works Program (EPWP) for the construction of state owned coal power plant projects (Medupi Power Station) including the construction government RDP low cost housing for the citizens through our private connections with Independent Development Trust (IDT) and Eskom ; and presently waiting to be remitted from one of the banks here in South Africa to any overseas beneficiary to be confirmed by us as associate/receiver. By virtue of our positions in the ministry, we cannot acquire this money in our names. Because as high placed civil servants, we are not allowed by the civil service code of conduct to own or operate bank accounts outside our shores. On the other hand, it is not safe for us to keep the money here due to unstable political environment.
My proposal is that after you receive the funds, it would be shared as follows: (1) Twenty percent as commission for your co-operation and assistance in facilitating the transfer, while the remaining percent belongs to me and my colleague. The transaction, although discreet, will be transferred successfully with all necessary backup with official documents showing the legitimate source/origin of fund. The transfer will be affected as soon as we reach an agreement and you furnish me with a suitable response indicating your interest for processing the transfer. Importantly, please do not expose this information to anyone else.
Further details, will be given to you as soon as we establish communication through this medium. I will appreciate your candid and positive with your full detail information in your reply to this letter.
Mr. John Weisse
DDG Department of Public Works S A