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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Kelvin Moses" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 12:55:57 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: SUPPLY OF SOLAR PANEL
I saw your contact information while I was sourcing for a reliable and
Recently, I was consulted by the Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS) to source for a reliable and trustworthy firm that can handle a
contract supply of SOLAR PANEL and I am very interested in transacting
this business with your firm with long lasting business relationship of
both equal benefits.
I was informed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
that they are looking for a reputable and reliable foreign firm that can
handle a contract supply of SOLAR PANEL to them and they said and assured
me that they will approve any profoma invoice for the supply of the above
mentioned product to any of my foreign partner I will introduce to them.
I wish to confirm from you if your company is capable of handle a contract
supply of SOLAR PANEL to the Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS) within a period of 8-12 months with 100% upfront advance payment
via bank T/T from them.
After your confirmation we will discuss more details about the supply and
my commission if your company gets the order through my connection.
Looking forward to hear from you as soon as possible while I wish you
smooth business operation.