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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Peter Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2012 06:14:58 -1100
Subject: YOUR URGENT REPLY IS NEEDED
Funds transfer proposal.
NOTE: Before you proceed reading this mail, this is true and not one of those mails you see on the internet, I am about to retire and here in Africa service is not adequately rewarded I tell you the gospel truth, hence do not blame me on this, I only need you to help me so that we can smile in future, GOD bless you as you read.
I presume this mail will not be a surprise to you. I am an accountant in the mineral commission department of Ministry of Mines and Energy Ghana and also a member of contracts awarding committee of this ministry under Ghana government. I got your full information from Chamber of Commerce and industry on foreign business relations here in Accra-Ghana. And I believed you must be trustworthy and honest main looking at your profile.
Some years ago, Ghana government asked this committee to awards contracts to foreign firms, which I and my colleagues happened to be the head of this committee. With our good position, this contract was over invoiced to the tune of US$10,500,000:00 as a deal to be benefited by the two Members of this committee. Now the contracts value has been paid off to the actual contractors that executed these jobs, all we want now is a trusted foreign partner like you that we shall front with her banking account number to Claim the over inflated sum. The said funds will be shared within us when it is confirmed into your provided Account in your country by the paying Bank.
NOTE: I know there may be scams and junk mails flying here and there on the internet but certainly, this is not one. Please do not fail to understand that in spite of all that, opportunities of this kind still abound. If you have ever wished or prayed for something good to come your way, now I urge you to take this message seriously and with an open mind.
You could never know. This may be an answer to your prayers. So please give it a benefit of doubt and with good faith and trust join me and I am assuring you now that you will never be disappointed. Kindly respond back to me to my email. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mr. Peter Smith