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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: " Kofour" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 06:26:01 +0100
Subject: GOD BLESS YOU David J Kofour
My name is Mr.David Kofour. I am the regional manager of Standard Chartered Bank of Ghana Takoradi Branch in the western region of Ghana. I got your information on a recent bank conference with other East African countries held in Johannesburg the capital city of South Africa.
I write you this proposal in good faith, I am a man of peace. I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit you and I,as the regional manager of the Standard Chartered Bank it is my duty to send in a financial report to my head office in the capital city Accra at the end of each business year.
On the course of the last year 2009 business report, I discovered that my branch in which I am the manager made Three Million Seven hundred and thirty thousand united state dollars ($3,730,000.00) which my head office arenot aware of and will never be aware of.
I have placed this funds on what we call ESCROW CALL ACCOUNT with no beneficiary. As an officer of this bank I cannot be directly connected to this money, so my aim of contacting you is to assist me receive this money in your bank account and get 35% of the total funds as commission.
There are practically no risks involved, it will be a bank-to-bank transfer, and all I need from you is to stand claim as the original depositor of these funds who made the deposit with my branch so that my head office can order the transfer to your designated bank account.
Thanking you in advance for your kind and urgent response, more so for keeping our proposal to your self.
You should also note that the transaction would only take (8) fourteen working days.
Remain Bless in Jesus Amen.