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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "you will be given 30%" (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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "(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: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 05:53:56 +0200 (SAST)
Form Mr.James Kojo
I am Mr.James Kojo. The chairman, Contract-Awarding Committee of the Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) with its fund headquarters in Accra Ghana.
I wish to introduce to you this confidential business deal with ECOWAS PAYMENT BUREAU of transferring the sum of (USD45,500,000.00) into your bank account or any account set up by you for this operation.
It is however agreed, as the account owner in this deal, you will be given 30% of the entire sum as compensation, 65% will be held on trust for us while 5% will be used to defray any incidental charges and cost during the course of the transaction.
You will be required to:-
(1) Assist in the transfer of the said funds by providing your bank account.
(2) Advise on lucrative areas for investment in your country.
I will give you more details and procedures about this transaction when you indicate your interest by responding to this message, please provide your full name and contact phone numbers for easier communication.
Mr. James Kojo