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)
- "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)
- "a reliable and reputable person to handle this" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Managing Director" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 22:07:05 -0600
I hope this may not constitute any sort of embarrassment to you, first I
must solicit your confidence in this transaction, this is by virtue of its
nature as being utterly confidential and top secret. But I am assuring you
that all will be well at the end of the day. I have decided to contact you
due to the urgency of this transaction, as I wish to rely on your
discreteness and ability in transaction of this nature. Let me start by
introducing my self properly to you, My name is Mr. Simon Dornoo I was
appointed Managing Director of Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd.(GCB) effective
March 04, 2010.
I came to know you in my Private Search for a reliable and reputable
person to handle this Confidential transaction. I only hope we can assist
I am the accounting officer of Mr. Ken Lay, Enron founder the energy
trading giant in America, who died on July, 5th 2006, at the age of 64, It
will interest you to know that on Wednesday, 7th February 2001, Mr. Ken
Lay deposited a total sum of 32M dollars in our Bank. These fund were
deposited into a non-existing company's account which I opened in our bank
(Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd) under his instructions.
So right now, we have the sum of 32M dollars lying in the account without
any proof of ownership as it was opened with non-existing company name and
the bank is not aware of the real beneficiary as the account did not bear
any existing company name. As the accounting officer and financial adviser
in charge of these account, I can comfortable present you to the Bank as
the real beneficiary of the fund and they have no right to deny the
Consequently, my proposal is that I want to seek your consent as a
foreigner to stand as the rightful beneficiary of this fund, since it has
no trace or Next of Kin which makes it easier and fine to transfer to your
designated bank account as the beneficiary. The nature of my work as a
staff of the Bank will not allow me lay claim on the fund, hence this
proposal to you and be informed that as long as you are ready to cooperate
with me and be truthful to me, I can assure you that the sky will be our
limit. All documents and proves to enable you get the money will be
carefully worked out and more so, I assure you that the business is risk
free, as everything will be handled in accordance with the International
I am offering you 40% for your cooperation in achieving this aim. If you
accept this offer to work with me, and you find this proposal suitable for
you do furnish me with the following information. Your Full Name and
Contact Address, Your Private Telephone Number, Your Age, Your Occupation
and Position. I will appreciate it very much, If this proposal is
acceptable by you, do not make undue advantage of the trust I have
bestowed on you, and I assure you we can achieve it successfully.
Mr. Simon Dornoo
Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd.