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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Ahmed M . Kuruma" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2012 16:31:41 +0000
Subject: CAN I WORK WITH YOU?
Attention pls, Firstly, I must solicit your confidence in this transaction, Although Let me start by introducing myself properly to you. I am Ahmed I Kuruma, a Manager at the Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd. I need a reliable and honest person to handle a very confidential transaction, which involves transfer of a huge sum of money to a foreign account. A foreigner,(LATE ENGR NAZIR ) an oil Merchant /contractor with the Government of Ghana, until his death some years ago in a ghastly air crash, banked with us here at the Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd. And had a closing balance of USD$10.2M (Ten Million, Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) which the bank now expects to be claimed by any of his available Relative without that it will be Considered frozen. Valuable efforts are being made by the (G.C.B BANK) to get in touch with any of late Engr's next of kin (he did not make known his wife or children) to the Bank. Now the board of directors, are making arrangement for the fund to be declared "UNCLIAMABLE " and then be subsequently becomes Bank's money. In order to avert this negative development, that iswhy, I seek for your permission to have you stand as the next of kin so that the fund, USD$10.2M, would subsequently paid into your bank account as the beneficiary next of kin. All documents and proves to enable you get this fund have been carefully worked out and I am assuring you 100% risk free involvement. Your share would be 30% of the total amount. While the rest 70% would be for me for business in your country. kindly get back to me immediately via e-mail furnishing (email@example.com) me with your most confidential telephone, and e-mail,for relevant details of this transaction. Ahmed I Kuruma,Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd