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:
- "million 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)
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: JOHN GOODMAN <john_goodman007@inMail24.com> (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 2009 23:46:43 +0800
Subject: URGENT RESPONSE NEEDED
I AM PLEASED TO SEND MY COMPLIMENTS TO YOU. I KNOW THAT THIS LETTER WILL DEFINATELY COME TO YOU AS A SURPRISE, BUT PLEASE, DO ACCEPT IT AS A REQUEST FROM A VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE. I ACTUALLY CAME ABOUT YOUR CONTACT THROUGH THE INTERNET DIRECTORY AS I WAS SEARCHING FOR A RELIABLE,TRUSTWORTHY AND CONFIDENTIAL INDIVIDUAL WHO CAN BE OF AID/ASSISTANCE TO ME. I HOPE MY MEDIUM OF CONTACT TO YOU WILL NOT IN ANY WAY CONTRAVANE YOUR ETHICS OF BETTER JUDGEMENT. LET ME FIRST INTRODUCE MY HUMBLE SELF AND IDENTITY.
I AM JOHN GOODMAN, THE ONLY ( ADOPTED ) SON OF LATE FORMER DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, CHIEF VINCENT GOODMAN OF SIERRA-LEONE DIAMOND AND MINING CORPORATION. I MUST CONFESS THAT MY AGITATION IS REAL, AND MY WORD IS MY BOND IN THIS REQUEST. SINCE THE DEATH OF MY FATHER, HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY, ( MY SUPPOSED UNCLES ) ARE TRYING TO TERMINATE MY LIFE BECAUSE OF THEIR SHEER WICKEDNESS AND JEALOUSY BECAUSE MY LATE FATHER "WILLED" ALL HIS WEALTH/ AQUISITIONS TO MY FAVOUR AS THE ONLY SON BUT THEY ARE NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS BECAUSE I AM AN ADOPTED CHILD SO THEY NOW SEE ME AS AN OUTCAST WHO SHOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO ANY REASONABLE ASSETS IN THE FAMILY.
NOW BEFORE MY FATHER'S DEATH, HE DEPOSITED SOME FUNDS AMOUNTING TO $9m ( NINE MILLION DOLLARS ) IN A AFRICAN BANK IN GHANA ( ACCRA ) BECAUSE HE COULD NOT SAFE-KEEP SUCH AN AMOUNT IN OUR COUNTRY'S BANK BECAUSE OF HIS WORK STATUS IN THE GOVERNMENT. NOW I HAVE IN MY POSSESSION THE LEGAL COPY OF MY FATHER'S WILL AND THE PHOTOCOPIES OF THE CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT ISSUED TO HIM BY THE BANK ON THE DAY HE MADE THE DEPOSIT AND SOME OTHER VITAL DOCUMENTS WHICH MY LATE FATHER LEFT IN THE CUSTODY OF HIS PERSONAL ATTORNEY FOR SAFETY WHICH WILL ENABLE ME TO CLAIM HIS AQUISITIONS AND ALSO THE FUNDS IN GHANA INCASE OF HIS DEATH AS HIS NEXT OF KIN. WITH THE DIVINE HELP OF OUR GARDENER WHO REVEALED THE EVIL PLANS OF MY UNCLES TO ME, HE MANAGED TO HELP ME ESCAPE FROM MY COUNTRY HOME ( SIERRA-LEONE ) TO GHANA WHERE I AM PRESENTLY RESIDING IN ONE OF THE REFUGEE CAMPS SO AS TO FIND A WAY TO TRANSFER THIS MONEY MY FATHER DEPOSITED WITH THE BANK HERE IN GHANA AND START A NEW LI!
VELIHOOD ELSEWHERE AND ALSO FINISH MY EDUCATION. IT IS ON THIS NOTE THAT I AM CONTACTING YOU, AND ALL I NEED FROM YOU IS FOR YOU TO STAND AS MY LATE FATHER'S BUSINESS ASSOCIATE AND FOREIGN PARTNER WHO WANTS TO ASSIST ME INVEST THIS FUNDS IN YOUR COUNTRY.
ALSO, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE THEM WITH A SAFE OFFSHORE ACCOUNT WHERE THE FUND WILL BE LODGED INTO, AFTER I MUST HAVE CLAIMED IT FROM THE BANK, THEN WE WILL MAKE AN ARRANGEMENT HOW I WILL COME OVER TO YOUR COUNTRY AND INVEST THE MONEY WHERE I BELEIVE THAT THERE IS STABILITY OF ECONOMY AND OVERNMENT.
I WILL BE COMPENSATING YOU FOR YOUR TRUST AND ASSISTANCE WITH 30% OF THE TOTAL SUM, AFTER WHICH YOU WILL HELP ME LOOK OUT FOR A GOOD BLUCHIP BUSINESS WHERE WE CAN INVEST THIS MONEY AND RUN AS PARTNERS.
I AM PRESENTLY INTERESTED IN HOTEL BUSINESS AND REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT BECAUSE IT WAS WHAT MY LATE FATHER PLANNED TO INVEST THE MONEY ON AFTER RETIREMENT BEFORE HE DIED, SO PLEASE, DO ADVICE ME ON THIS ACCORDINGLY. ONCE MORE, I BEG YOU NOT TO CHEAT OR SIT ON THIS FUND ONCE IT HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED TO YOUR ACCOUNT BECAUSE IT IS MY ONLY HOPE AND MEANS OF SURVIVAL; PLEASE, DO CONTACT ME THROUGH MY PRIVATE MAILBOX FOR CONFIDENTIALITY AND INTRODUCE YOURSELF
PROPERLY TO ENABLE ME FURNISH YOU WITH MORE DETAILS IN REGARDS TO THIS REQUEST.
BEAR IT IN MIND THAT I HAVE ALL THE DOCUMENTS THAT WILL ENABLE THE BANK TRANSFER THE MONEY TO ANY GIVEN ACCOUNT THAT IS BEEN INTRODUCED BY ME FOR THE MONEY TRANSFER. I SINCERLY WISH THAT YOU WILL BE MY GUARDIAN HENCEFORTH, CONSIDERING MY AGE AND PRESENT SITUATION. THANKS AND MAY THE ALMIGHTY GOD BLESS YOU.
I AWAIT YOUR PROMPT