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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Usman Hassan" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2011 02:04:54 +0800
Subject: RE: THE REASON WHY YOU HAVE NOT SUCCEEDED IN RECEIVING YOUR FUND
From the Desk of
Dr. Usman Hassan
RE: THE REASON WHY YOU HAVE NOT SUCCEEDED IN RECEIVING YOUR FUND
After waiting to hear from you or your Ghana partner for a long time now, I decided to make this direct approach to you as my new resolution in other not to let it be if I have anything in mind against you. I do not know if you have asked yourself why each time the release of this fund is approved, all of a sudden, the payment will be stopped or one problem or the other will come up if you have not asked this question or you do not know, this is an opportunity for me to tell you.
Some time ago, your Ghanaian friends, I mean the people that introduced you to the project approached me through my dear wife who work with the Federal Ministry of Finance and requested me to assist them conclude a money transfer deal they had with you. They requested me to assist them by removing the original contractors name, companys name and bank particulars from the BANK OF GHANA vetting computer and replacing them with your name and bank details in order to make you appear as the rightful beneficiary of this fund.
I agreed on condition that they will pay me US$100,000.00 as soon as your name appears as the beneficiary. I did as agreed and demanded to be paid, but your friends started telling me stories, they even told me you promised to send money to me.
Do you know that up till now, I have not received a single cent from them and have not set my eyes on any of them? Based on their attitude, I decided to stop the fund release movement because I cannot be denied of my right in my own office considering the risk as it might affect my job. Secondly, I know the source of the funds that you did not execute any contract in Ghana, although I am the only person privileged to know this information and it is a fact. Why I am making this clear to you is that I can see that you are still making efforts in order to conclude this project. Now I am ready to forget the past.
I do not need the US $100.000.00 any longer from you but a good compensation from your mind. I need your assurance that those colleagues will be totally kept out of this transaction. I know that none of them is aware of my new approach to you. Stop spending your money unnecessarily to BANK OF GHANA Officers both here and overseas because you will not receive this money without my hand in it. I personally did the work at the beginning and only I can perform it. Finally,
I need your promise that no official of the BANK OF GHANA will be aware of my involvement in this regard because of my position. Now re-assure me that you will be willing to compensate me and that you will assist my wife to establish a foreign account in your country where my compensation will be lodged. Also a TT FUND RELEASE APPROVAL DOCUMENTS will be sent to you for endorsement after which I will remit the money within few days.
I am a man of my word. If you are ready to conclude this business with me, kindly contact me on my so that we can have a chat over this issue once and for all.But if the reverse is the case, do not bother yourself to reach me and forget about this money.
Dr. Usman Hassan
Chairman payment verification Panel.