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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Millison Narh <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 09 Dec 2014 18:30:54 +0300
Subject: CLAIM OF INHERITANCE
From the Desk of the Second Deputy Governor
Bank of Ghana.
I am Mr Millison Narh the Second Deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana. We
write to inform you about a deceased from your Country (who bear the
same Surname with you) who was a Gold Merchant and Exporter, but died
in a mining accident in Ghana in 2011. We are contacting you based on
the fact that the deceased identified and named you as his next of kin
and beneficiary to the sum of US $16,800,000.00 he deposited in Bank
The Judicial Service of Ghana advice that you forward your particulars
to this office as soon as possible to enable us send them to the Chief
Justice of Ghana and the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning for
subsequent release and transfer of the funds to you since the payment
has been approved by the above mentioned authorities.
Reply immediately with the following details in order to start
processing the payment to your nominated bank account.
1. FULL NAMES:
3. TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBERS:
All documentation attached to this fund has been confirmed by us as
legitimate and genuine.
Mr. Millison Narh
Second Deputy Governor
Bank of Ghana
One Thorpe Road
P. O. Box GP 2674