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)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Ibrahim Moustahpa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2010 09:21:47 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Dear Friend,
FROM THE DESK
OF MR IBRAHIM MOUSTAPHA
My name is mr Ibrahim Moustapha. I am a banker with the Bank of africa, Burkina Faso.I am still working with the Bank , but am about to retire from active Bank service to start a new life but I am sceptical to reveal this particular secret to a stranger .You must assure me that everything will be handled confidentially because we are not going to suffer again in life.
It has been 10 years now that most of the greedy African Politicians used our bank to Launder money to overseas through the help of their Political advisers. Most of the funds which they transferred out of the shores of Africa was gold and oil money that was supposed to have been used to develop the continent. Their Political advisers always inflated the amounts before transfer to foreign accounts so I also used the opportunity to divert part of the money hence I am aware that there is no official trace of how much was transferred as all the accounts used for such transfers were being closed after transfer.
I acted as the Bank Officer to most of the politicians and when I discovered that they were using me to succeed in their greedy act, I also cleaned some of their banking records from the Bank files and no one cared to ask me because the money was too much for them to control. They laundered over $150m dollars, during the process .As I am sending this message to you, I was able to divert more than ($20m) to an escrow account belonging to no one in the bank. The bank is anxious now to know who is the beneficiary to the funds because they have made a lot of profits with the funds.It is more than ten years now and most of the politicians are no longer using our bank to transfer funds overseas.
The $20M has been lying waste but I don't want to retire from the bank without transferring the funds to a foreign account to enable me share the proceeds with the receiver. The money will be shared 60% for me and 40% for you .
There is no one coming to ask you about the funds because I secured everything.I only want you to assist me by providing available bank account where the funds can be transferred. You are not to face any difficulties or legal implications as I am going to handle the transfer personally. If you are capable of receiving the funds, do let me know by replying me immediately to enable me give you detailed information on what to do.
For me, I have not stolen the money from anyone because the other people that took the whole money did not face any problems. This is my chance also to grab my own but you must keep the details of the funds secret to avoid leakages as no one in the bank knows about the funds.
Please supply me the following:
Your current contact address and Telephone Numbers. Whether you will be able to come down to my country to meet me before the commencement of the transfer.
I shall intimate you on what to do when I get your confirmation and acceptance. If you are capable of being my trusted associate, do declare your consent to me. Waiting for your urgent response. Yours Faithfully,