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:
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Fritz Gockel" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 22:01:02 +0800
Subject: Re: From Ghana Commercial Bank Limited.
We wish to inform you that,we have received some foreign exchange
allocation order,which is routed through our protocol to your
receiving bank account.
You are hereby required to send to us the following information stated
below,to enable us compare with what we have in our records here,this
is to avoid making your wire transfer wrongly to a wrong person.
1. Your name/resident address.
2. Your direct phone number.
3. your receiving bank cordinates.
Looking forward to hear from you.
Dr. Fritz Gockel.
Ghana Commercial Limited.