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:
- "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 next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Edward Kofi" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 4 May 2012 05:59:04 +0200
Subject: Can i trust you with this?
My name is Mr Edward Kofi
I am the Regional Manager of international commercial Bank of Ghana,[I.C.B] Accra branch Ghana. I write you this proposal in good faith; I am married with two lovely children. I am a man of peace, and have sincere respect for human feelings and opinions. I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit you and I.
As the Regional Manager of International commercial Bank of Ghana,[I.C.B], Accra branch Ghana 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 last year, 2010 business report, I discovered that the branch in which I am the Manager made Eight million, Seven Hunderd and Fify Thousand United States Dollars ($8,750,000.00) which my head office is not 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 due to my position in this bank, so my aim of contacting you is to assist me as the second party to receive this money in your bank account and get 20% of the total funds as commission. There are practically no risks involved, the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law, it will be simply 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 under few working days. If you accept to work with me I will appreciate it very much as you are the first and the only person I am contacting for this transaction.
Mr Edward Kofi