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:
- ",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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Johnson Kwame" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2012 13:31:34 +0000
Subject: Best Regards!
My name is Mr.Mr.Johnson Kwame,I am a banker here in Ghana. I got your contact from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Ministry of International Trade and Industry. I need your help to transfer USD$7,500,000.00 dollars.
The money is part of the profits from our bank last year (i.e. 2011). I have already submitted annual report for last year to my bank head quarters in Accra - Ghana, and they did not notice the excess profits. I deposited the USD$7,500,000.00 dollars in an escrow account without a beneficiary (Anonymous), to avoid any trace.
I cannot be directly connected to this money because I still work with the bank. So, I need your help to transfer this money to your country for me and you to share. I offer you 45% of this money as my foreign partner and 55% would be for me. There is no risk involved because it will be a bank-to-bank transfer. All I need from you is to stand as my foreign partner and owner of the money to enable you present a foreign bank account where the money will be transferred to.
If you accept this proposal, I am prepared to go into partnership with you. Please kindly reply to me for more information on how to proceed, through my private email address: