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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Emmanuel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2021 02:18:55 -0700
Subject: business proposal,
My name is Mr. Emmanuel, 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 Accra at the
end of each year.
In the course of the last year 2020 end of the year report, I
discovered that my branch in which I am the Manager made excess profit
of [US$12.5 Million dollars] which my head office are not aware of and
will never be aware of. I have since placed this fund in a SUNDRY
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 and 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 I will give you more details on how
we can achieve it successfully.