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)
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "observe utmost confidentiality" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Kenneth Bonsu" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 04:06:12 -0000
Subject: New Message From Kenneth Bonsu
From the Desk of Kenneth Bonsu.
Attention : SIR/MADAM.
I presumed that all is well with you and your family. Please let this do not be a surprise proposal to you because i got your contact information from the international directory a few weeks ago before i decided to contact you on this magnitude and lucrative transaction for our future survival in life. Moreover, i have laid all the solemn trust in you before i decided to disclose this successful & confidential transaction to you.
My name is Kenneth Bonsu, a staff of one of the private banks in Ghana. I have a very confidential business proposial for you. On July 15th 2009, Late Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, the late son of Mouamar Al Gadaffi of Libya made a huge deposit of $17,472,000.00 (Seventeen Million, Four Hundred and Seventy - two Thousand United States Dollars) in my bank. This funds was supposed to be transferred abroad but due to an unknown reason, he didnt fill the transfer form and did not state any beneficiary to the funds.
Eversince then, he never said anything about the funds and when I tried to contact him, he always postponed the appointment to fill the transfer form because he was always out of town. Right now, he has been confirmed dead as stated in the news. Please click the link below to confirm:
Therefore, I seek your assistance to act as the beneficiary and receiver to the funds and I promise you 40% of the total sum. I have made all necessary arrangement and this is a risk free transaction that would not raise any eyebrows as the funds is placed in an account without a name and there is no beneficiary's name on it. Therefore, whoever is presented as the beneficiary would not be questioned.
All I require from you for this transaction is TRUST, because without trust we cannot complete this deal. Please send me the following information so that we can commence the transfer:
1. Your Full Name
3. Direct Phone Number / Cell Phone
Please observe utmost confidentiality, and believe that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us because I shall require your assistance to invest my share in your country.
Please reply via my private email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Awaiting your reply
Mr. Kenneth Bonsu
CAN YOU BE TRUSTED?