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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "(ecowas)" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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: "Dr. Frank Addo" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2023 14:22:05 +0100
Subject: LET US WORK TOGETHER 04/15/2023
From the desk of Dr. Frank Addo.
Chairman, Contract, Awarding & Auditing
Committee - ECOWAS, Accra Ghana.
I am Dr. Frank Addo, chairman of the contract-awarding & auditing
committee of the economic community of west African states (ECOWAS)
with its fund headquarters in Accra Ghana. I am making this contact
with you based on the committee's need for an individual/company who
is willing to assist us with a solution to a money transfer.
This amount $23 M represents the balance of the total contract value
executed on behalf of ECOWAS for supply of hospital equipment from
foreign contracting firm, which the officials over-invoiced
deliberately, of which the actual sum has been paid.
Should you be willing to assist us in the transaction? Your share of
the sum will be 30% of the $23 million, 65% for us and 5% for taxation
and miscellaneous expenses. To enable us commence, you should provide
the followings for immediate kickoff of this deal if it interests you;
your company's names with complete address, tel. and fax numbers.
Thank you and God bless, as I wait in anticipation of your fullest cooperation.
Dr. Frank Addo.