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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "hundred thousand us 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 mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "Mr.Jagodago W. Van" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 2021 22:39:23 +0100
Subject: Attention my dear sir/madam,
Attention my dear sir/madam,
My greeting to you, we have received a mail from the Ministry of
Finance to release your long awaited payment, our bank management has
instructed me to contact you for immediate release of the fund and
your payment file code sum of Three Million and Five Hundred Thousand
US Dollars only. To notify you the process of (T.T) for the releasing
of your entitlement, through online banking transfer
payment. Furthermore, you have to open a non-resident current account
with our bank which the fund will be credited into so the transfer
will not be difficult through transferring your Fund in your
domiciliary bank account there in your Country. As we wait for
your response as a matter of urgency. Confirm to us immediately
you receive this message. Use our website;
www.ebid.com to open our online account check online banking. Be
informed that the payment will stop after the third week of September
2021, this is very important and your last opportunity although it
comes to those who are prepared for it. Get back to us as soon as you
read this mail.
Thanks your sincere
Mr. Jagodago W. Van
Manager and Payment Unit
ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID)