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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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 fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
Fraud email example:
From: "United Nations Development Programme." (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2009 02:14:29 -0800
Subject: Your Qualification Numbers is(N-222-6747,E-900-56).
United Nations Development Programme.
United Nations Donation Programme 2009.
NOTIFICATION FOR DONATION TO YOU FOR DEVELOPMENT AT YOUR REGION.
United Nations Development Programme, and Charity in conjunction with the
ECOWAS, Europen Union, are giving out a yearly donation of US$850,000.00
(Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) as specific
Donations/Grants to 40 lucky international recipients worldwide.
This is to inform you that your Email address have won a prize money of
US$850,000.00 (Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) as one
of the final recipients of a Cash Grant/Donation for your own personal,
educationand business development for this year 2009.
Based on the email random selection exercise of internet websites and
millionsof supermarket cash invoices worldwide, you were selected among
the lucky recipients to receive the award sum of US$850,000.00
Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) as charity donations/aid from the
UNDP,ECOWAS, EU and the UNO in accordance with the enabling act of
Your Qualification numbers is(N-222-6747,E-900-56). For claims fill the below
form and send to the payment department ECOWAS HEAD OFFICE Nigeria.
DATE OF NOTICE:____________________
SEND ALL INQUIRIES TO THE
Public Relations Officer. (P.R.O)
Thank you and Accept my hearty congratulations once again!
Mr. D Shaw.