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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: officeee dirttt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 05:29:07 -0800 (PST)
Subject: supply enquiry
Ecowas has launches 2011 Rural/Community Development Vision (RCDV) to
Achieve these; Funds has been set aside to covered payment for the
Supply of several products in large quantity. About Forty-Two
(42) Products/Items will be needed for Purchase/Supply in a Large
Quantity. Such As:
1. Led Fluorescent.
2. A4- Paper. (Target Price: $4.87) Per Ream
3. Carbon Steel/ Alloy Steel Tubes
4. Mobileâs Phone
5. T-shirt. (Target Price: $7:88) each
6. Urea 46% N.
7. Medical Equipment.
8. Door. (Target Price: $70:00)
9. Wall Socket.
10. Bed Sheets.
11. Solar Street Light.
And host of others not mentioned.
Note that payment is 80% down Payment, while 20% balance will be paid
Destinations: Tema Harbor Seaport Accra Ghana.
Select any one or two items above; I will give you full specifications
Mr. Williams Mensah