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:
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "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)
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Joseph <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2022 16:50:42 +0000
Subject: About Peter
Please forgive me unsolicited e-mail. I am Mr. Joseph Mensah, a Bank Official resident in Ghana. I believe it is fated for me to come across you now. I have a profitable business idea I wish to share with you relating to someone based in your country.
One Late Peter, a citizen of your country had a fixed deposit with my bank in 2010 for 108 calendar months, valued at US$23,400,000.00 (Twenty-three Million Four Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) the due date for this deposit contract was last 22nd of January 2017. Sadly Peter was among the death victims in the Jan 12 2011 fatal accident in Ghana involving Two vehicles near Nkenkenso a district in the Ashanti Region of Ghana where fifteen people were killed on the spot. Read article;
My bank management is yet to know about his death, I knew about it because I was his account officer and we had a somewhat personal business relationship. Peter did not mention any Next of Kin when his account was opened, and he was not married and had no children. Last week my bank management requested that Peter should give instructions on what to do with his funds, whether to renew the contract or not. I knew this would happen and that is why I have been looking for a solution because if my bank directors find out that Peter is late and does not have any heir, they will take the funds for their personal use. That was why when I saw your last name I was happy and I am seeking your cooperation to present you as Next of Kin/Heir to the account since you have the same last name with him and my bank will release the account to you.
There is no risk involved; the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law. It is better that we claim the money than allowing the Bank Directors to take it, they are rich already. I am not a greedy person, so I am suggesting we share the funds equally, 50/50% to both parties, my share will assist me to start my own company which has been my dream. Let me know your mind on this and please do treat this information as TOP SECRET. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response.
Anticipating your communication.