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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Miss.Mercy Abonime" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2022 23:37:51 -0700
Subject: Anticipating hearing from you as soon as possible
My Name is Mercy Abonime, I am 20 years old the daughter of late High
Chief Johnson Abonime of Obuasi Land in Kumasi .
My father was the head of the entire community's Local Gold Miners in
Obuasi Land Kumasi that made him a very wealthy man, with 7 wives and
my mother is the last wife with 2 daughters I and my junior sister.
Before his death he confided in me as his beloved daughter and told
me in confidence that if he died his sons will not allow my mother, I
and my sister to inherit anything from the family because she did not
born a male child as regards to African culture.
He doesnât want me and my sister to surfer therefore he handed over a
document worth one tone of 22 carat gold bars he deposited in a
security company in Accra the Capital City of Ghana.
That I should keep it secret from the male children, my brotherâs if
they saw the document with me it will cause crises in the family.
That I should seek for a faithful and reliable foreign partner in a
country of my choice that can help me to retrieve the Gold from the
Security Company, dispose it for cash and relocate me and my sister to
continue our Education overseas.
And use the rest wisely for investment purposes for our future.
I am honorably seeking your assistance in the following Areas:
(1) To go in person and secure the Gold from the security company and
provide means to sell it.
(2) To make arrangements for me and my sister and mother to come to
your country and secure a resident permit in your country and also to
purchase us a 2 bedroom apartment.
I am willing to offer you 30% of the total sales as compensation for
your effort/ input after the successful selling of the gold overseas.
Anticipating hearing from you as soon as possible
Thanks and God bless.