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)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "there are practically no risks 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: "Mr. Frank Mensah" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2010 15:32:57 +0100
Subject: From Mr.Frank Mensah
My name is Frank Mensah I am the regional manager of Oceanic bank of Ghana tema branch in Ghana. I got your information when i was searching for an oversea partner among other names. I write you this proposal in good faith; I am 40 years old married with one lovely kid. I am a devoted Christian and a man of peace.
I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit you and I, as the regional manager of the Oceanic bank it is my duty to send in a financial report to my head office in the capital city Accra at the end of each business year. On the course of this year business report, I discovered that my branch in which I am the manager made seven million three hundred thousand united state dollars (7.3m)usd which my head office are not aware of and will never be aware of. I have placed this funds on what we call escrow call account with no beneficiary.
As an officer of this bank I cannot be directly connected to this money, so my aim of contacting you is to assist me receive this money in your bank account and get 40% of the total funds as commission. There are practically no risks involved, it will be a bank-to-bank transfer, and all I need from you is to stand claim as the original depositor of these funds who made the deposit with my branch so that my head office can order the transfer to your designated bank account.
If you accept to work with me I will appreciate it very much. when i hear from you, i will give you my full information.
Thank you in advance and may God bless you and your family.