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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "trunk box" (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)
- "trunk boxes" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Brigadier General Joseph Donkor" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 16 May 2022 09:41:41 -0700
Subject: Attention: Beneficiary
I am BRIGADIER GENERAL JOSEPH DONKOR, the Chief of General Staff, GHANA. I
am mailing you in respect, of the present development going on here in my
I decided to contact you, after much investigation which was carried out by
the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and the Ghana Police Service, to
make sure our country is free of these fraudulent activities, which is going
on here in Africa and for our country to bear a good name.
The Airport Authority detected that trunk boxes after been scanned the
authorities detected that the boxes contains funds on your name and email
that has been tempered on, were been smuggled into the country by foreign
Personnel who were on transit from London.
These men were trying to enter the country with the trunk boxes, when the
airport authority detected that these boxes contains, some huge amount of
United State Dollars. After much investigation we found out that these men
were among those men, spoiling the good name of Africa.
They opened up to us that, they actually work with a Lotto company before
their dismissal and used the opportunity to perpetuate their crimes, they
told us that the funds inside the boxes was won by you, but now they planned
to turn back on you and decided to take the money all to themselves out of
the country. We later found out on the investigation that was carried that,
these men are truly members of a well established organization to act on
their criminal activities.
As I write you this mail now, the three(3) men that were caught are now in
the custody of the Ghana Police Service over here in our country Ghana,
while we are trying to track the others left, because they have proved to us
that they belong to one organization.
That is why we have to reach you by your mail address and name that was
tagged the boxes, Immediately we instructed a our united nation diplomat to
deliver this boxes without wasting time with the parcel
Your response will be very much appreciated as soon as you have received
Please all reply should go to this email
Thank you for your kind attention, for us to make sure our beloved country
Ghana, bears a good name.
Please in your reply include your
A: FULL NAMES:
C: DIRECT CONTACT PHONE NUMBER:
D: SCANNED COPY OF YOUR INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT OR ANY RELEVANT
IDENTIFICATION PASSPORT: Attached.
As this information will be required, by the authorities in Ghana to draft
the new change of ownership in your name as the rightful owner of the funds
in our custody and also to verify the information given to us because the
documentations covering the boxes have been tampered on.
Brigadier General Joseph Donkor