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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "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 Paul Kojo <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2009 05:03:21 -0700
Subject: From: Mr.Paul Kojo
From: Mr.Paul Kojo
My name is Paul Kojo I am the regional manager of Standard chartered bank
of Ghana Obuasi branch in the western region of 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 46 years old married with three
lovely kids. 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 Standard chartered 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 the last year 2008 business report, I
discovered that my branch in which I am the manager made three million six
hundred united state dollars (3.6m)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 30% 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. email me with
the above email address so that we can go over the details and i will give
you my full informations. Remember there is no risk involved i promise.
Thank you in advance and May God bless you and your family.
Mr. Paul Kojo