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:
- "on indication of your willingness to handle this transaction" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i would like to apply through this medium for your co-operation" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- ",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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "there are practically no risks involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Michael Ofori." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 01:08:56 -0800 (PST)
Subject: PARTNERSHIP INVESTMENT
Compliment of the day,
I would like to apply through this medium for your co-operation and to secure an opportunity to invest and do joint business with you and my family in your country. I have the intention to invest with you, into a very lucrative business venture of which you are to advise and execute the said venture over there for the mutual benefits of both of us.
Your able co-operation is to become my business partner in your country and create ideas on how money will be invested, properly managed and the type of investment after the money is transferred to your account with your assistance.
My names are Mr Michael Ofori. I am 51 years old married with two lovely kids. I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit both of us, as an officer in my Bank; it is my duty to send in a financial report to my Head Office in the end of each business year.
On the course of the last two year 2008 business report, I discovered that my branch in which I am ranking officer made Six Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars ($6,500,000.00) which my Head Office are not aware of and will never be aware of it. I have placed this fund on SUSPENSE ACCOUNT with no beneficiary. As an officer of this bank I cannot be directly connected to this money, this informed my contacting you. Indeed I will appreciate if you can receive this money in your bank account and get 30% of the total funds. There are practically no risks involved, it is simple bank to bank transfer, all I need from you is to stand as one of our customer who has been banking with us and the depositor of this funds with my branch, so that upon your request for its immediate transfer my head Office will not hesitate to transfer to your designated bank account.
Meanwhile, on indication of your willingness to handle this transaction sincerely by protecting my interests and upon your acceptance of this proposal, I would furnish you with the full detailed information and procedure I have mapped out for this transaction.
I shall be glad to reciprocate this gesture to you. If you so desire, but do urge you to give the matter your immediate attention it deserves.
If you accept this offer to work with me, and you find this proposal Suitable for you do furnish me with the following information.
Private Telephone Number.............................
Await your response.
Mr Michael Ofori.