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:
- "it will be a bank to bank transfer" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "contact me immediately" (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.Kofi Mensah" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2011 15:05:54 -0000
Good Day My Friend.
My Name is Mr.Kofi Mensah
I am the Eastern regional branch manager of the Standard Chartered Bank West Africa.I do not want problems but I just hope you can assist me.I write you this letter in good faith.
I am in control of the sum of three million,eight hundred and fifty thousand US dollars($3,850,000.00)which was an excess of profit made by our regional eastern branch office in the last quarter of the year 2010,which I have carefully placed in an Escrow Call Deposit Account and did not declare this to my head office.
Can I really trust you to hold this money for me until I arrive your country and pick it up myself and you deduct 30% of the total money as your commission.If you accept my offer you can contact me immediately. If you do not accept can you forget I contacted you?
All I need is for you to get me a good current account in your bank where I can move this money.I will discreetly give you all the information concerning the account so that you can apply to the bank for the release of the money.There is practically no risk involved,it will be a bank to bank transfer.Take my word.
I hope you understand my situation.