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:
- "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)
- "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:
Date: Fri, 07 Dec 2018 04:44:48 -0800
Subject: Re: Good Day..
The World bank Africa debt service in each year seek international donors and creditors assistance like the Paris and London club for payment of debts to foreign beneficiaries and contractors whom the ECOWAS counter part could not be able to pay to the respective beneficiaries.
Now our international creditors/financiers are carrying out debt payment in their offshore payment center in South America/South Africa and Hong Kong and your long delayed payment was included as one of the beneficiaries that will benefit from this last quarter 2018 debt payment schedule.
Each beneficiary must travel to any of these offshore payment center to sign the release order documents of the fund as the rightful beneficiary and witness the transfer of the fund to his/her nominated account. Because of the bureaucratic and administrative bottleneck of the ECOWAS bank officials which has delayed the payment for long time coupled with the huge amount of money you had spent in the past years seeking for this payment, we were able to negotiate with our financiers who has agreed to sponsor your travel to sign these release order documents of the fund. We will buy your flight ticket, pay for your hotel accommodation and will take care of your feeding allowances during your trip to sign the release order documents of the fund.
Our creditors/ financier will take care of all your expenses during this trip. You are not going to spend any of your money and nobody will ask you to pay any upfront money to anybody for whatsoever reason as the financier will handle all the expenses involved as you sign the release order documents of the fund and come return back.
For sponsoring this trip and taking care of your expenses, Our creditors and financiers shall receive 15% of the total fund payable to you while the balance of 85% is what you will receive in your account as soon as you sign the release order documents of the fund.
If this offer is acceptable you, in your response, you are advised to send me the first two pages on your passport and your direct telephone number for our efficient communication to enable our financier start processing your travel arrangement.
Do not hesitate to ask me any question if you further clarification.
Head of Operations(ECOWAS REGION)
World bank Africa Debt service