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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "million united state dollars" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Ecowas Donations 2012" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 19:18:45 -1100
Subject: Dear Beneficiary!!!
Ecowas Donations 2012
101 Yakubu Gowon Cresent
Asokoro District P.M.B. 401
This is to inform you that your E-MAIL ADDRESS have won you a prize money of
One Million United State Dollars,($1,000,000.00)from this year 2012 Lottery
promotion which is organized by ECOWAS DONATIONS BOARD.
ECOWAS DONATIONS 2012, collects all the email addresses of the people that
are active online,among the millions that subscribed to the Internet.we only
select five people every New Year as our winners through electronic balloting
System without the winner applying,we congratulate you for being one of the
You are to contact the events manager on or before your date of Claim,
Winners Shall be paid in accordance with his/her Donations Prize must
claimed not later than 10 days from date of Draw Notification after the Draw
date in which Prize has won. Any prize not claimed within this period will be
These are your identification numbers:
Batch number.....................ECW 09102XN
These numbers fall within your Location file,you are requested to contact the
events manager/Claims Department,send your winning identification numbers and
the information below to him,to enable him
verify your claims.
Full Contact Address:
CONTACT FINANCE DEPARTMENT)
Thank you and Accept my hearty congratulations once again!
(Ecowas Donations Games/Lottery Coordinator).