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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "there are practically no risks 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: "Mr James Agbeko" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2020 16:09:54 -0700
Subject: How Are You Doing Today?
Dear friend ,
My name is Mr. James Agbeko. I am a retired banker of one bank in ghana west africa,i do not want problems but i just hope you can assist me.i write you this letter in good faith, i have a transaction
I realized this fund from bank excess profit after trading with the capital sum and i deposited the funds in escrow call account; where nobody will have access to it; even the bank does not have access to this account because it cannot be deducted; until after the transfer.finally i did not declare this fund to the bank before my retirement.
I am contacting you, to stand as the beneficiary of this fund because only a foreigner can stand as the beneficiary,can i trust you to hold this money for me until i come over to your country? after the transfer, i will give you 30% of the money as your commission.if you accept my offer, but if you do not accept this offer kindly forget that i contacted you,
All i need is for you to get a good current account where this fund can be transferred into and for you to stand as the beneficiary of the said amount; within three days the funds will be transferred to your designated bank account,there are practically no risks involved; it will be a bank-to-bank transfer.
I hope you understand my situation, i am critically ill that is why i contacted you to finalize this transaction to enable me have a very good treatment.
May God bless you and your family.
I wait your urgent reply
Mr. James Agbeko