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: Benson Gyan<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 02 Nov 2017 21:44:36 +0100
Subject: -RE: -PAYMENT AUTHORIZATION-
WORLD BANK AUDITORS
AFRICA REGIONAL OFFICE
Plot Independence Ave,
Ridge, Accra, Ghana
The World Bank auditors in Ghana have deliberated on your inheritance/contract payment with government of Ghana in collaboration with International Monetary Policy office of the Ghana Presidency and resolved that all fund approved in your name should be released to you without any delay through upon the immediate successful appraisal and authorization by the World Bank auditors and the Ghana Presidency
It is important that you note that payment will be made to you only through bank to bank wire transfer using a designated paying bank as will be appointed by the Ghana Presidency
You are hereby requested to reply this email with the following details.
1) Your receiving Bank name:
20 Bank address:
3) Bank swift code or routing number:
4) Bank account number:
5) Bank account name:
6) A scanned and attached copy of your personal identification which must be either an international passport or driver's license.
Be informed accordingly that an amount of US$5.5 million has be approved for payment to you because of shortage of foreign exchange available for the initial settlement of a long list of unpaid bills.
You are strictly warned to contact only the undersigned who is the Secretary of the World Banking auditing Board for Ghana. Upon successful appraisal, you file will be forwarded to the Ghana Presidency for approval and authorization of transfer.
Mr. Benson Gyan
(World Bank Ghana Auditing Board)