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:
- ",500,000" (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: "John Tiaku" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 08:18:36 +0430
Subject: Compliment" From John, Please Reply
My name is Mr. John Tiaku, a politician and a previous member of Ghana's executive committee on contract awards.
My purpose of connecting you is to crave your indulgence to assist me in securing some funds abroad for safe keeping which I incidentally kept to help me finance my senatorial elections campaign under the party umbrella of National Patriotic Party (NPP) on December 7th 2008, Unfortunately for me I lost the seat to my opposition member under the party of National Democratic Congress (NDC).
But with my immediate contact, I was able to deposit some kickback money emanated from award of contracts awarded to Chinese and Malaysia companies in a security vault with a commercial bank in Ghana pending when I will found a trustworthy person to move out the fund from Ghana to oversea bank account for business investment.
The need to contact you arose from the fact that the present elected government vow to crack down on past immediate government functionaries of (NPP) and trying to trace all the funds that was made through contract awards and other mouth watering deals during our tenure in the office from the year 2000 to 2008, if they succeed in tracing this fund
to me, they will seize it and thereby incapacitating my life time opportunities.
I wish to relocate this fund in a foreigner's name to avoid any trace. All I need from you is an assurance that you can handle the amount involved (US$19,500,000) comfortably and that I can also trust you.
Be fully rest assured that there is no risk involved. I want you to immediately inform me of your willingness in assisting and co-operating with me, so that I can send you full details of this transaction.
Mr. John Tiaku