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:
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned 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: "INTEGRATED PAYMENT SYSTEM" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 00:51:20 -0700
Subject: YOUR FILE HAS FINALLY BEEN SHORTLISTED FOR PAYMENT
Dr Brian Williams
Integrated Payment Department
African Development Bank
Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
REF- ATM CARD NOTIFICATION
Attn SIR /MADAM
This is to bring to your notice that approval have been granted by the AFRICA UNION, SOUTHERN AFRICAN GOVERNMENT FORUM and also ECOWAS ( Economic Community of west African States) instructing the AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB) to verify all Outstanding Payment then go ahead and pay victims who have been scammed globally through the internet services.
We have been Mandated by the ECOWAS Parliament to issue out $1,3m as part payment for this fiscal year 2010, We also will like to inform you that your Payment File was shortlisted for First Quarter of 2010. Your due payment has been approved and will be Remitted without further Delay
I once tried to notify you about this development but my mail was returned undelivered, You are listed and approved for this payment as one of the beneficiaries to be paid, Get back to me as soon as possible for detailed email and the immediate release of your compensation payment
You are also advised to send your communication particulars which includes the following
Residential Address details
Telephone Fax numbers
valid E-mail Address
To enable us have your payment approved, You are advised to forward this information to this office for payment release of your compensation.
You are also requested to stop any further communication with any other person(s) or office(s) to avoid any hitch in receiving your payment as Scheduled
Dr Brian Williams