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:
- "it will be a bank to bank transfer" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "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)
- "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: "Mr. Micheal Kobina." (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 16:52:33 -0000
Subject: Hello !!
My name is Mr. Micheal Kobina. I am a banker and a regional manager of a bank here in Ghana. I need your help to transfer a sum of US$7,500,000.00 into your account as my foreign partner.
The fund is part of the profits made by our bank past 4 years in the branch where I am the manager. I have already submitted annual report for last year to my bank headquarters in Accra - Ghana, and they did not notice the excess profits. I deposited this said US$7,500,000.00 in an escrow account without a beneficiary (Anonymous), to avoid any trace.
I cannot be directly connected to this fund because I'm still working with the bank. So, I need your help to transfer this funds into your account in your country for you and I to share. I offer you 45% of this funds as my foreign partner and 55% will be for me. There is no risk involved because it will be a bank to bank transfer. So, I want you to stand as the owner of this fund so that you can present a foreign bank account where the funds can be transferred to you as my foreign partner.
If you accept this proposal, I am prepared to go into partnership with you. Please kindly reply to me for more information on how to proceed.
Mr. Micheal Kobina.