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:
- "transfer into your account" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "DR.GREGORY DAVID" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 18:04:38 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: VERY URGENT
MARGIN-TOP: 5px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 5px
MARGIN-TOP: 5px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 5px
PAYMENT SYSTEM HARMONIZATION COMMITTEE
(GHANA MONITORING UNIT)
Our Ref: PSHC/GMU/BJN/ZZ057
Attn: Sir/ Madam
RE: SWIFT TRANSFER OF US$850,000.00 (EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY
THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) ONLY INTEREST INTO YOUR ACCOUNT.
the Chairman Payment System Harmonization Committee, Accra, Ghana. Sometime ago,
your contract money was deposited in a local bank by the Bank of Ghana and after
some period, they recalled the fund back to their treasury.
period of time this fund stayed in the local bank, it generated an interest of
US$850,000.00 only which we consider must be paid to you since you are one of
the contractors/beneficiaries that have not received his/her payment. As a
matter of fact we the management of this Committee has resolved and decided to
pay the interest of the fund via Swift Transfer into your account.
we need from you now is any form of identification like your international
passport number or your driving license number, then your telephone and fax
number for easy communication.
In view of this you are hereby
instructed to contact this office immediately you receive this message and
reconfirm the above stated details forward your full details Tel
No,names,address,bank account information for transfer within 48hrs.
The Payment System Harmonization Committee therefore apologize for
any form of delay and inconvenience. We are poised to serve you better and on a
last note, we want you to keep this correspondence secret because all the
officials that are involved in your principal amount doesn't know about the
existence of this fund.
We are waiting to hear from you.
Dr. Gregory David.
Chairman, Payment System