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:
- "million dollars" (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 next of kin scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Kofi Sarpong" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2021 23:29:49 -0700
Subject: BUSINESS PROPOSAL....80
My Good Friend,
My name is Mr. Kofi Kodua Sarpong, I am a newly promoted Branch Manager of a Bank here in Ghana, West Africa. I got your information during my search through the Internet. It may interest you to hear that I am a man of PEACE and don't want problems, I only hope we can assist each other. If you don't want this business offer kindly forget it, as I will not contact you again. I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit both of us, as the Branch Manager of the Bank, it is my duty to send in a Financial Report to my head office in the capital city of Accra at the end of each year.
I wish to place your name as the beneficiary to [US$12.5 Million dollars] due to the death of the depositor who died along with his only daughter. However, I assure you that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law both in your country and here in Ghana once the fund is transferred to your bank account. The funds I am referring to is right here in this bank floating in a suspense account, therefore I solicit for you to be in collaboration with me to have this done.
As an officer of the bank I cannot be directly linked to this money, so this informed my contacting you for us to work together so that you can assist me to receive this fund into your bank account in your country for us to SHARE.
I am offering you 40% of the total fund, while you keep 60% for me in your bank account till I join you in your country for the sharing/investment of my own share of the funds or better still we can go into a joint partnership venture, I will appreciate it very much.
As soon as I receive your response through this Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) I will give you more details on how we can achieve it successfully.
Mr. Kofi Kodua Sarpong