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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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: "Fred Ofori" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2014 11:14:46 +0100
Subject: From Mr. Fred Ofori.
I wish to contact you on a good business which I want you to assist me and receive this fund into your bank account in your country.
I am the regional manager of Barclays Bank of Ghana Ltd in Tema branch, I discovered this money six million four hundred and ten thousand united state dollars (USD $6,410.000.00) On the course of the last year 2013 business financial report and I have packaged a transaction that will benefit you and I, as the regional manager of Barclays Bank of Ghana Tema branch, 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.
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, so my aim of contacting you is to assist me receive this money in your bank account and get 38% of the total funds as commission.
Please there is no risk involved, if you can work with my instructions and this business will be a bank-to-bank transfer, all I need from you is to stand as the original depositor of the said fund who made the deposit with my branch so that my head office can order the transfer to your designated bank account.
If you accept to work with me on trust I will appreciate it very much.
I wait your response as soon as possible.
Mr. Fred Ofori.
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