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:
- "good day friend" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "account opening" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- 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: ISAAC MENSAH <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: ISAAC MENSAH <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2013 18:55:38 +0900 (JST)
Subject: URGENT ATTENTION NEEDED
Good Day Friend,
Sorry for writing you without your permission. I am MR ISAAC MENSAH business manager of a leading commercial bank in Ghana. I am writing you because I need your help, the reason I contact you is of utmost secrecy and very paramount to me.
On the 25th of January 2013 MR BARRY BATH a German contractor in my country gave me some certain amount of money which may not be mention here for security reason in his hotel room to open a business/corporate account for him; he was unable to complete the documentation for the account opening before he traveled to Germany for his monthly check up. I deposited this money in the banks sundry account were the money was supposed to be until the account is opened.
On 2nd of February 2013 I went to Mr. Barry$B!G(Bs company only to be informed of his demise and that his family had decided to sale the company because none of them want to stay in Africa, my bank is aware of his death because he is very popular, but nobody is aware that he gave me money to open a business account for him before his death.
This money which I deposited with Barry as the depositors name has stayed up to 6months in sundry account of the bank and the internal control person (the Auditor) have been on my neck to open the account and move the money. I have made him believe that the owner of the money left the country for business and will be back.
However, I am writing you because I need you to help me stand as the owner of this deposit. I will send you the details of this transaction and the modalities as soon as I receive your positive response through my private mail address below: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please kindly include your personal phone number and other contact information in your reply for easy communication and note that we shall both agree on the division ratio before proceeding with the transaction. Thank you in anticipation of your good response.
Mr. Isaac Mensah