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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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)
- "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: "Mr.John Christopher" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2016 14:55:35 -0700
Subject: Re: Top Secret From: Mr John Christopher,
This mail may be a surprise to you because you did not give me the
permission to do so and neither do you know me but before I tell you
about myself I want you to please forgive me for sending this mail
without your permission. I am writing this letter in confidence
believing that if it is the will of God for you to help me and my
family, God almighty will bless and reward you abundantly. I need an
honest and trust worthy person like you to entrust this huge transfer
My name is Mr.John Christopher, The Branch Manager of a Financial
Institution. I got your contact through a reliable source called
database through Ghana chambers of commerce. I am a Ghanaian married
with 3 kids. I am writing to solicit your assistance in the transfer
of US$7,500,000.00 Dollars. This fund is the excess of what my branch
in which I am the manager made as profit last year (i.e. 2014
financial year). I have already submitted an annual report for that
year to my head office in Accra-Ghana as I have watched with keen
interest as they will never know of this excess. I have since, placed
this amount of US$7,500,000.00 Dollars on an Escrow Coded account
without a beneficiary (Anonymous) to avoid trace.
As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this
money thus I am impelled to request for your assistance to receive
this money into your bank account on my behalf. I agree that 45% of
this money will be for you as a foreign partner, in respect to the
provision of a foreign account, and 55% would be for me. I do need to
stress that there are practically no risk involved in this. It's going
to be a bank-to-bank transfer. All I need from you is to stand as the
original depositor of this fund so that the fund can be transferred to
If you accept this offer, I will appreciate your timely response to
me. This is why and only reason why I contacted you, I am willing to
go into partnership investment with you owing to your wealth of
experience, So please if you are interested to assist on this venture
kindly contact me back for a brief discussion on how to proceed.
Your Telephone number ..................
Your Occupation .........................
Your Nationality ........................
Your Age ....................................