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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Dery" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2010 08:25:29 -0500
Subject: Re: Your held funds released
Parliament House, Accra-Ghana .
We the entire members of the House of the Parliament, on behalf of the Government of Ghana, under the auspices of the new President of Ghana held a meeting concerning payment, both foreign and local contractors and some inheritance funds of lost and dead investors in Ghana between 1960 to 2009 which were not released to the right benefactors and also long dated contract payment sum of 1978/1981.
We discovered that your payment listed to us Five million two hundred thousand dollars (US5.2M), you are advised to respond with effect so that we will process your payment to be made in any form you wish to receive your funds either by bank draft of direct wire transfer or inform our financial institution where the funds will be package for delivery at your doorstep .
Now your new Payment Reference No.-35460021, Allocation No: 674632 Password No : 339331 , Pin Code No: 55674 and your Certificate of Merit Payment No : 103, Released Code No: 0763; Immediate Telex confirmation No: -1114433 ; Secret Code No: XXTN013, Having received these vital payment number, therefore You are qualified now to receive and confirm Your payment with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Immediately within 5 days. You are directed to reconfirm your full detailed information as stated below:
Full name and address on your Identification.
Phone numbers and time that you can be reached on phone-
NOTE: We have mounted our security network to monitor every in-coming call, if we still find out that you are still dealing with all those fraudsters that have been frustrating you, we shall stop and cancel your payment immediately .
Dr. Ambrose Dery
Deputy Minority Leader
House of Parliament, Ghana.