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:
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- "transferred into your bank account" (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)
- "chief auditor" (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)
- "lome togo" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: Sabah Ahmed <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 10:24:14 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re, i need trust
From the desk of Mr Sabah Ahmed.
Ecowas Bank-Auditing manager
Mobile 00228 986 88 25
I know you will be surprised reading my mail because we have not known each other before, However, I am Mr Sabah Ahmed, Ecowas Bank Auditing manager. The Chief Auditor/Information manager,In-Charge of Foreign Unit in Ecowas Bank . I had the intent to contact you over this financial transaction/transfer, i got your contact through your profile, i believed that you will be capable to handle this fund transfer project.
This message might meet you in utmost surprise but i want you to understand in all honesty that i mean no harm but for our immense mutual benefit, however, it was due to my urgent need for a foreign partner that makes me to contact you in this financial project,. I have the opportunity of transferring a left over funds the sum of $16.500 Millions US Dollars to over sea account, which i was opportune to see the deposit file bearing this huge amount of money here in our bank, when i was inspecting the dated and current customers files in other to sign and submit to the entire bank management for an official validation / re-documentation against the statement approval to the account holders for the year. In a swift investigation carried out by me.
This account was dormant for the past 8 years now, i have carried out a system investigation and discovered that none of our bank officials is aware of this account, i discovered that there has been no deposits nor withdrawals from this account for this long period of years.
My motive of contacting you is to let you know that i am opportune to see this files bearing this huge amount of money here in our bank, I am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money can not be approved to a local person here without valid international foreign passport, but can only be approved to any foreigner with valid international passport or driving license and foreign account because the money was in US Dollars, and as such the money can only be approved into a foreign a/c. As long as the vital documents that will be required by our bank managements to approve the release and transfer of this funds into your designated bank account are right here in my office, which i will be using to back you up in every aspect to get this funds transferred into your bank account with out any hitch,
My dear you don't have to be wondering how i will do this, it is my work there will be no hitch in getting this funds transferred and secured in to your bank account, all that is needed is the relevant documents which will be provided by me, all are here in my office, hence the documents proofs of this funds are here with me, which i will be using to back you up this transfer into your bank account, this documents that are here with me will give you the locus standi (legal right) to receive this funds into your bank account with out any hitch, all i need from you is to be sincere with me.
Therefore, upon receipt of your positive response, i shall advice you on what to do to enable us commence further on this project. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us get this funds transferred and secured into your bank account.
Please if you did not understand my proposal very well get back to me for more clarification concerning the source of this fund.
I wait in anticipation of your fullest co-operation
Please you are advised to contact me through my private email bellow.(email@example.com) also your mobile number are needed for oral communications and for further directives/details.
Mr Sabah Ahmed.
Ecowas Bank Auditing manager
Mobile 00228 986 88 25