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:
- "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: Blessing Mensah <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2011 18:21:18 -0800 (PST)
Subject: its very urgent
From: Blessing Mensah (Mrs)
The Regional Manager,
Standard Chartered Bank of Ghana,
This will interest you,
My name is Blessing Mensah (Mrs), I am the regional manager of Standard Chartered Bank of Ghana Tamale Branch. Am writing you this mail for something very important; I am happily married with four lovely kids. I have been a banker for almost 10 years.
I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit you and I, as the regional manager of my branch 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 the last year 2010 business report, I discovered that my branch in which I am the manager made Five million six hundred and twenty thousand united state dollars ($5,620,000.00)USD. I have placed this funds on what we call escrow call account, this account is strictly for onward transfer, with no beneficiary.
As an officer of this bank I cannot be directly connected to this money in any way, 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, while 60 percent comes back to me. I placed you on 40% because I believe this business now belongs to the both of us, and your efforts and support is
highly going to be involved as well.
Up till date, no one has the knowledge of the $5,620,000.00USD you are about to receive in your bank account, and no one will ever know of it.
All you need to do is stand and claim as the original depositor and beneficiary of the fund in my branch so that my head office can order the transfer of the fund to your designated bank account. There are practically no risks involved, it will be a bank-to-bank transfer.
From the day you applied, within 6 days the money should have been transferred and cleared in your account if all things work out well. Then I will get back my 60% through any means we find best.
Please note that all I need from you is your trust and sincerity as to seeing this through.
am expecting your soonest reply as to enable us start doing something about this immediately.
Kindly get back to me,
Blessing Mensah (Mrs).