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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found 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: "Mr.Victor Ama" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 04:43:22 -0800 (PST)
Subject: CONFIRM IF YOU ARE THE OWNER OF THIS EMAIL ID
Listen carefully for the information, as courtesy demands; I am Mr. Victor Ama, the Operations Manager in Ecowas head office Ghana . There is information I think might interest you.
First of all, I do not know if I am talking to the right person, but I will like you to confirm if you are the owner of this email ID. Already I have your name and details in our file in the office, but somehow I am not comfortable and too sure. So I just want to make sure am communicating with the real owner of this Email ID whom we also have your other detail in our data..
If you can prove that you are the owner of this email ID, then I will furnish you with the information that I have for you.
So by your response, if you can be able to Identify your name and address as we have it in Data here, I will proceed and let you know what news we have for you.
I am taking this preventive measure because I do not want to talk to the wrong person because of the sensitivity of the information regarding your out standing Payment.
Other details will be forward to you as soon as I am convinced I am communicating with the right person.
Reply now please,
Mr. Victor Ama.