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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a orphan scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ansah Michael" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2011 15:25:39 +0300
Subject: PLEASE I NEED YOUR URGENT HELP
I HOPE THIS EMAIL IS REACHING YOU IN A GOOD HEALTH? MY NAME IS MICHEAL ANSAH AND I AM FROM SIERRA LEONE. I FOUND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FROM A WEBSITE WHEN I WAS SEARCHING FOR A RELIABLE FOREIGN PARTNER.
FOR SOMETIME NOW I HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH DIFFICULTIES IN LIFE. IT ALL STARTED WHEN I LOST MY FATHER. MY FATHER WAS A GREAT OIL MERCHANT IN SIERRA LEONE, HE WAS INTO IMPORT AND EXPORT OF MAINLY CRUDE OIL. HE WAS POISONED BY ONE OF HIS BUSINESS COUNTERPARTS AFTER A DISPUTE OVER A BIG CONTRACT FROM A OIL COMPANY IN MY COUNTRY THAT WAS AWARDED TO MY LATE FATHER IN SIERRA LEONE.
AFTER THE DEATH OF MY FATHER HIS FAMILY MEMBERS MADE AWAY WITH ALL THAT MY FATHER HAD, AND SENT ME AND MY MOTHER OUT OF MY FATHERS HOUSE, AND SOLD THE HOUSE, WE COULD NOT FIND THEM AGAIN BECAUSE OF THE WAR THAT HAPPENED IN MY COUNTRY. TWO WEEKS BACK MY MUM SHOWED ME SOME DOCUMENTS WHICH MY FATHER USED IN DEPOSITING THE SUM OF $9.8 MILLION DOLLAR IN A BANK IN GHANA AND THE PICTURES AT THE TIME HE WAS SIGNING THE AGREEMENT WITH THE BANK, AND HE USED MY NAME AS THE NEXT OF KIN. I WAS FILLED WITH JOY, AND I TRAVELED TO GHANA WITH MY MOTHER.
WE GOT TO THE BANK AND PRESENTED THE LEGAL DOCUMENTS THAT WAS GIVEN TO MY LATE FATHER AT THE TIME HE DEPOSITED THE MONEY WITH THE BANK.THEY ACCEPTED THAT THE MONEY HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED TO A BANK IN CANADA THEIR AFFILIATE BANK , BECAUSE MY FATHER STATED AT THE TIME OF DEPOSIT THAT THE FUND WILL LEAVE AFRICA ON TRANSIT TO HIS FOREIGN PARTNER OVERSEAS FOR OTHER PURPOSE. I DID NOT KNOW THAT MY DAD WAS PLANING OF OPENING A COMPANY ABROAD.
WE WERE ADVISED BY THE BANK TO GET A FOREIGN PARTNER WHO IS RELIABLE TO HELP US RECEIVE THE FUND FROM THEIR CORRESPONDING BANK CANADA WHERE THE MONEY IS PRESENTLY, SO WE WANT YOU TO BE OUR FOREIGN PARTNER AND HELP US CONTACT THE BANK, SO THAT THE BANK CAN TRANSFER THE MONEY OF MY LATE FATHER TO YOUR ACCOUNT. MY SELF AND MY MUM HAVE AGREED TO GIVE YOU 30% OF THE TOTAL FOUND. THEN I AND MY MUM CAN COME OVER TO YOUR COUNTRY AND START A BETTER LIFE. PLEASE I WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT I TRUSTED YOU, AND I FEEL YOU CAN HELP ME AND MY MUM, THAT IS WHY I AM TELLING YOU THIS TOP SECRET. AS I AM WRITING YOU THIS MAIL MY EYES ARE FILLED WITH TEARS, BECAUSE MY MUM IS VERY SICK AND WE DON'T HAVE ANYBODY HERE IN GHANA WE ARE LIVING WITH AN OLD LADY NAMED MRS CAROLINE KWESI WHO WORKS AS A GARDNER IN A COMPANY.
AFTER I HEAR FROM YOU I WILL SEND YOU THE DETAILS CONCERNING THE FUND.I WILL SEND YOU EVIDENCE OF DEPOSIT ISSUED TO MY LATE FATHER AT THE TIME HE DEPOSITED THE MONEY WITH THE BANK. , MY FATHERS PICTURES, AT THE TIME OF DEPOSITING THE FUND WITH THE BANK ,AND HIS CASKET DURING HIS BURIAL, I WILL ALSO SEND YOU MY PICTURES.PLEASE SEND ME YOUR MOBILE NUMBER WITH WHICH I CAN USE TO REACH YOU.
I WAIT FOR YOUR URGENT REPLY.
GOD BLESS YOU,