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:
- "required fee " (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. )
- "service fee" (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. )
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Ambassador <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2021 21:43:36 +0100
Subject: Former United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This is Mr. Edwards Ellis the Former United States Ambassador to the
Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I came down here in Abuja-Nigeria for ECOWAS meeting and I was
searching for some files that I left in this office before I left and
found out that you have not received your fund, and I asked the
present ambassador Mary Beth Leonard what happened that you have not
receive your fund and he said that you refused to pay the required fee
for the delivery of your ATM CARD.
I am contacting you this morning because the director of the ATM CARD
center here in Nigeria said that they will deliver your ATM CARD to
the Government Treasury just because you cannot pay for the service
fee of your ATM CARD which is $250.00. only according to them. But I
told them to wait until I hear from you today so that I will know the
reason why you rejected such amount of money $10.5M which will change
your life just because of $250.00.
I want your urgent response as soon as you receive this email and
explain to me the reason why you have abandon your ATM CARD because of
$250.00. But if you don't need it then I can change your name to
another person so that this Government will not claim this money but I
know that you will love to have it.
Please my dear I want to help you to receive this fund because it was
a big shock to me that you have not receive your ATM CARD and withdraw
your money for years now and I am very sorry for that.
You will receive your fund before the end of this meeting which will
take us 4 days and I will be here to monitor it until you receive your
Finally, make sure that you reconfirm your full details.
1) FULL NAMES:
2) DELIVERY ADDRESS:
3) PHONE NUMBER/
Mr. Edwards Ellis
From United States Former Ambassador to the Republic of Nigeria