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:
- "might come to you as a surprise" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: John Thomas Kofi <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2021 23:40:05 -0800
Subject: Best Regards
MY REGARDS TO YOU,
Hello Beloved, How are you coping with this Covid-19 Pandemic? I know this
email might come to you as a surprise as we have not met before but I
believe God knows why he has directed me to you at this point in time.
My name is Mr. John Thomas, I`m a Branch Manager of a Financial institute ,
I am writing to solicit your assistance in the transfer of US$12,500,000.00
Dollars. This fund is the excess of what my branch in which I am the
manager made as profit last year (i.e. 2020 financial year). I have already
submitted an annual report for this December to my head office in
Accra-Ghana as I have watched with keen interest as they will never know of
this excess of the fund. I have since placed this amount of
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 40% of this money
will be for you as a foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a
foreign account, and 60% would be for me. I do need to stress that there is
practically no risk involved in this.
John Kofi Thomas