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:
- ",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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Ernest Obeng <email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:44:51 -0700
Subject: Greetings" From Ernest, Kindly Reply Back
My name is Mr. Ernest Obeng, a politician and a previous member of
Ghana's executive committee on contract awards.
My purpose of connecting you is to crave your indulgence to assist me in
securing some funds abroad for safe keeping which I incidentally kept to
help me finance my senatorial elections campaign under the party
umbrella of National Democratic Congress (NDC) Last year December 2016,
Unfortunately for me I lost the senatorial seat during my party
conducted election primary to my opposition member under the same party
But with my immediate contact, I was able to deposit some kickback money
emanated from award of contracts awarded to Chinese and Malaysia
companies in a security vault with a commercial bank in Ghana pending
when I will found a trustworthy person to move out the fund from Ghana
to oversea bank account for business investment.
The need to contact you arose from the fact that the present elected
government vow to crack down on past immediate government functionaries
of National Democratic Congress (NDC) and trying to trace all the funds
that was made through contract awards and other mouth watering deals
during our tenure in the office from the year 2008 to 2016, if they
succeed in tracing this fund to me, they will seize it and thereby
incapacitating my life time opportunities.
I wish to relocate this fund in a foreigner's name to avoid any trace.
All I need from you is an assurance that you can handle the amount
involved (US$19,500,000) comfortably and that I can also trust you.
Be fully rest assured that there is no risk involved. I want you to
immediately inform me of your willingness in assisting and co-operating
with me, so that I can send you full details of this transaction.