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:
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Nana Owusu Addo <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2016 22:45:01 +0900
Subject: IT MIGHT INTEREST YOU.....
Confidential Business Proposal to you
Having consulted with my colleagues and based on the information gathered from your Chambers Of Commerce And Industry, I have the privilege to request for your assistance to transfer the sum of (forty seven million, five hundred thousand United States dollars) into your accounts. The above sum resulted from an over-invoiced contract, executed commissioned and paid for about five years (5) ago by a foreign contractor. This action was however intentional and since then the fund has been in a suspense account at The Bank Of Ghana Apex Bank.
With our links we have been able to transfer the fund overseas to a off shore center in Europe (Crown AG Offshore Center) in Lichtenstein who make payments on Behalf of the (GNPC) Ghana National Petroleum Company and where you come in is that we would need your assistance to move the money from the account with Crown AG to your private account in your country . It is important to inform you that as civil servants, we are forbidden to operate a foreign account; that is why we require your assistance. The total sum will be shared as follows: 70% for us, 25% for you and 5% for local and international expenses incident to the transfer.
The transfer is risk free on both sides. I am the former Senior accountant with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). If you find this proposal acceptable, we shall require the following documents:
(a) your banker's name, account , telephone,and fax numbers.
(b) your private telephone and fax numbers -- for confidentiality and easy communication.
Alternatively we will furnish you with all documentations and access to the director in charge of payments with Crown AG offshore Center explaining, comprehensively what we require of you. The business will take us fifteen (15) working days to accomplish.
Please reply urgently.
Nana Owusu Addo.