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:
- "there are practically no risks 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: "ECOBANK \(GH\) LTD" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 16:19:49 -0000
The Branch Manager
Eco Bank of Ghana
Abeka Lapaz Branch
I anticipate that you read this mail quickly and let me know your willingness on this classified information that I will release to you. Firstly, I am happily married with 3 lovely kids and therefore I would not want to jeopardize this opportunity to change my financial status that will give my family a secured future.
I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit both of us, as the Branch Manager of the Eco Bank of Ghana Abeka Lapaz Branch; it is my duty to re-direct financial report to the Bank Head Office in the capital city Accra-Ghana at the end of each year. On the course of the last two years report (2009/2010), I discovered that my Branch in which I remain the Manager made Excess Profit of (Twelve Million Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars) which my Head Office are not aware about neither must they know that I am involved in this transaction.
I have already place this fund on an "escrow account" without a beneficiary. As an Officer of the bank I am not directly connected to the fund, the reason why I contacted you as a foreigner to assist in receiving this money into your Bank Account for our interests, you will be entitled to 35% of the total fund as reward for your support and assistance at the end of this transaction.
Note: there are practically no risks involved, it will be bank to bank transfer, and all I need from you is to stand as the Original Depositor of this fund, who made the deposit with our branch so that my Head Office can order the transfer to your designated Bank Account. If you accept this offer to work with me, I will appreciate it very much. As soon as I receive your kind response, I will give you details on how we can achieve success in this transaction.
Waiting your response.......
Mr. Eric Offei