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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Bernard Ofori" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mr. Bernard Ofori" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:12:06 +0100 (CET)
I am Mr. Bernard Ofori, a banker here in Ghana . I write you this proposal in good faith hoping that I will rely on you. In 2008, 'Sergio Hayes' who has the same surname as yours and who has your country in his file as his place of origin, made a fixed deposit , valued at $10,000,000 with my bank.
I was his account officer. Unfortunately, while on a business trip, he died in a deadly Tsunami earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011 in Sendai Japan that killed many people.
The management of our bank have been finding a means to reach him so as ascertain if he will want to roll over the Deposit or have the contract sum withdraw , when I discovered that this will happen, I learnt of his death, so I have tried to think up a procedure to preserve this fund and use the proceed for charity.
Some directors have been trying to find out from me the information about this account and the owner, but I have kept it closed because, I know that if they become aware that Serge is now late, they will divert the funds for themselves.
Therefore, I am seeking your co-operation to present you as the one to benefit from his fund as his next of kin since you have the same name , so that my bank head quarters will approve and transfer the funds to you. I have done enough inside bank arrangement and only have to put in your details into the information network in the bank computers and reflect you as his next of kin.
I immensely request for your optimum honesty and cooperation and Let me know your mind on this, and please do treat this information as Top secret. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response, or we can also discourse on phone.+233232865902
I anticipating your communication.
Mr. Bernard Ofori.
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