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 united states 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)
- "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: AHMED OKON <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2010 12:32:18 +0000 (GMT)
Dear Good Friend,
It's my pleasure to write you this august message my name is Ahmed Okon, 47 years old, I work with one of the Ministry in Nigeria as a director incharge of contract and valuation unit.
Presently,i'm in London for my two weeks vacation which i will be coming back to Nigeria by Monday next Week. I have full information of you and i have no doubt in me that you can handle this as your record i saw is speaking for you.
Presently in my position, I have $30million united states dollars that can be transfered anywhere in the world ,this money came up as an over invoice contract, which i used my position to do it . I am soliciting for your cooperation now to have this fund transfered as a contract procceeds fund.
I took this decision because of my governorship ambition,which i want to contest election by next year as election is very very expensive in my country and there is no other way for me to raise fund for this election which is very dear to me as their is know other way apart from this.
What i am soliciting from you now is to provide me with a name and bank account to be used for the transfer of this fund, I am ready and willing to give out 30% of the total sum, but what i need most is that , this have to be highly confidential because of my political ambition, if you can not handle it and have someone that have the reputation that can handle it let me know him/her as i will not like someone to abuse the trust and confidence which i intend to impose on him/her.
Get back to me as i will give you the full details and procedure on how we shall go about it as there is no risk involved rather understanding and confidentiality.
You can reach me on this number now
Mr Ahmed Okon.