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:
- 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:
- "(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.
Fraud email example:
From: Prince Williams <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2022 05:03:02 -0700
Subject: GREETINGS, FROM PRINCE W"REPLY BACK
I work with a rural development organization; our agency is an arm of
the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS), for 15years I
have held the position of head/director of Health Financing and
Insurance department for 6years now. Our services and activities include
Improving the efficacy and efficiency of healthcare spending and
investment, ensuring coverage and access to high quality health care at
affordable cost for the entire population, the development of health
planning policies within the countryâs healthcare system, the
development and implementation of policies relating to health economics
and providing analytics for sound economic controls for the countryâs
healthcare needs and many other key areas that I cannot begin to list
We awarded contracts to various drug manufactures and large drug
distributing companies both in America and Asia in 2014 and during the
deliberations and the processing of the contracts, myself and a
strategic member of my committee convinced and inflated the value of the
contract to the sum of US$40.800.000.00. The contracts were completed
between 2014 and 2016, our agency has paid all the contractors and
suppliers in full but the over invoice value of US$40.800.000.00 has
been floating in the balance sheet of the agency's account with ta
financial security company and recently the manager wrote and required
me to forward account where the remaining of the balance will be paid
to. It is in this regard that I am inviting you to come and partner with
me by providing me an account so we can move this fund out of Africa for
our collective interest.
I am willing to relay further information as soon as you confirm your