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:
- 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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- ",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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "(ecowas)" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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: "Mrs. Lisa Harry" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2019 10:51:30 +0300
Subject: Re: Compensation Fund $2,500,000.00 USD
This message is coming to you from the United Nation Anti-Crime Commission and Great Britain (UK) in conjunction with the United Nations (UN) Foreign Credit Commission and Debts Settlement Services New York, the United States of America to Africans scam victims.
This is to inform you that the United State Government have ordered the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Fraud Victim Compensation Unit of Fidelity Insurance Plc, Benin Republic, West Africa to release a compensation grant of $2,500,000.00 USD to you.
We wish to inform you that you are among the 100 beneficiaries to benefit Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($2,500,000.00 USD) each from the third batch of Three Hundred Million ($300,000,000.00 USD) from the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Fraud Victim Compensation Unit.
According to the number of applicants at hand, 40 beneficiaries have been paid, two third of the victims are from the United States, we still have more 60 left to be paid the compensations of $2.5 million each.
NB: There are two payment methods through which every beneficiary is required to choose one from the options, we kindly request that you should indicate which of the payment option you prefer from the listed payment options below:
(1) Fund transfer via Online Banking ?
(2) Payment via Certified ATM Card ?
Indicate from the above options which one is preferable to you to enable the bank commence an immediate fund release to you without further delays. To facilitate transfer of the funds to you, please do provide your details to the below email:
As soon as we hear from you, the bank will release the funds to you.
Mrs. Lisa Harry
For: (ECOWAS) Fraud Victim Compensation Unit of Fidelity Insurance Plc, Benin Republic, West Africa