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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "processing expenses" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- "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: GEORGE WILFRED <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2020 20:37:10 +0200
Subject: Dear Friend,
I am the Chairman of Ecowas Special development commission and we are in
charge of executing development projects. We review and award contracts to
a non- indigenous company who has failed to execute the project accordingly
and was therefore terminated.
We have also some companies that have finished their jobs and left. It is
in our routine system to review financial status at every end of the
season. Based on this therefore I want to evacuate this overdraft before
the audit and beginning of new season projects.
I intend to push out this accumulated fund made through over draft contract
values and abandoned jobs. Now we want to commence new face projects very
soon. If you can help us evacuate this stocked amount; The total amount is
valued at about $97.5million dollars to be shared
We agreed to give you 30% of the total amount; We will share the 65% while
5% will be
reserved to repay all processing expenses thereafter. We solicit for your
unreserved confidentiality and proficient co-operation in this project.
Please reply me immediately for more details on how to
proceed. Send to me your full namesâ¦â¦â¦â¦,
occupation & position,â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦.
mobile telephone numberâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦ so that I can call
you for more discussions
Hon. Mr. George Wilfred (Chairman)
Special Project Commission
Economic Community of West Africa States.
Private E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org