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 us 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)
- "million 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Brandon Mann" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2011 21:43:29 -0000
Subject: Request for partnership
Dear Sir / Madam,
My name is Brandon Mann and I am consultant for Ghana's Ministry of Energy. It seems very odd to contact you, somebody who doesn't know me and who I do not know, to discuss an issue of such magnitude. But this is the only option left to me as a result of the sensitive nature of the project I want to discuss.
Sensitive in the sense that I am not supposed to do this, sensitive also because I ought to turn over the project in question to the Government of Ghana. But why should I do that? Why should I do that just so the Minister and his cronies will find ways of dividing the spoils amongst themselves? But then I am getting ahead of myself.
The Government of Ghana recently acquired a Floating, Storage, Processing and Offloading Vessel (FPSO) from Singapore. The vessel is to collect and process crude oil from the jubilee oil field in Ghana. The vessel cost the government $875 Million but the actual cost of the vessel was 500 Million dollars. Leaving out a balance of $275 Million.
The vessel has been commissioned and has the capacity to process 120,000 barrels of crude oil a day and a storage capacity of 1.6 million barrels. This means that Modec, the company that built it has finished their work.
But the balance of $275 Million is still sitting in ESCROW awaiting application from MOCEC for transfer. This is not going to happen because MODEC has received their payment and is not aware of the balance mentioned. Basically, I have just given you the project background. I am contacting you because I want to utilize your non African origin (MODEC is a non indigenous company) to wire out the 275 Million US Dollars. For your participation, you will get 35%.
You may rest assured that there is no singular risk to you or to myself and there will be no come backs of any sort. Should you wish to partake of this deal, kindly email me so I can furnish you with further details. You may also want to note that you need not have any knowledge of the oil industry or the building of transport tankers.