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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Owusu"<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2009 00:28:12 -0000
Subject: Compliment" From Mr. John, Kindly Reply Back
My name is Mr. John Owusu, a politician and an immediate past member of Ghana Parliamentary (MP). I am a member of my party's executive committee on contract awards.
My aim of contacting you is to crave your indulgence to assist me in securing some funds abroad for safe keeping which incidentally was kept to help me finance the just concluded elections campaign last December 7th 2008, which the winner was finally decided through a runoff election held on 28th December 2008.Unfortunately for my party the National Patriotic Party (NPP) lost the government seat to our opposition Party the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
But with my immediate assistance, and contact, I was able to deposit some money in a security vault with a commercial bank in Ghana pending when I will found a trustworthy person to move out the fund from Ghana to overseas bank account for business investment.
The need to contact you arose from the fact that the present elected government vow to crack down on past immediate government functionaries of (NPP) and trying to trace all the funds that was made through contract awards and other mouth watering deals during our tenure in the office from the year 2000 to 2008, if they succeed in tracing this fund to us, they will seize it and thereby incapacitating my life time opportunities.
I wish to relocate this fund in a foreigner's name to avoid any trace. All I need from you is an assurance that you can handle the amount involved (US$19,500,000) comfortably and that I can also trust you.
Be fully rest assured that there is no risk involved since I have taken care of every underground work relating to the perfection of this opportunity. I want you to immediately inform me of your willingness in assisting and co-operating with me, so that I can send you full details of this transaction. I will also appreciate if you can maintain the confidential nature of this letter and the whole transaction process.
Please if you are not interested in this business, let me know in time, so that I can contact someone else.
Mr. John Owusu