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:
- "dear friend" (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.
- 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: "Mrs. Georgette Robert" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2012 0:12:03 +0900
Subject: Cashier's Cheque!!
How are you today?
You may not understand why this mail came to you. We have been having series of meeting for the past 5 months which ended 2 days ago with the secretary to the African Union. I am Mrs. Georgette Robert of AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION the Ecowas District Officer.
Please note that this email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the world, the AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION have agreed to compensate them with the sum of US$(950,000.00)
This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc.
We found your name in our list and that is why we are contacting you, these have been agreed upon and have been signed. You are advised to contact our paying center as they are our representative in Accra-Ghana, contact them immediately for your International Bank certified Draft of USD$950,000.00 This funds are in a Bank Draft for security purpose, so they will send it to you and you can clear it at any bank of your choice in your country or in any country of the world.
Therefore, you should send to Dr. Ike Michael your full Name, your direct telephone number and your correct Postal Address where you want them to send the Certified Draft to you.
Contact Dr. Ike Michael immediately to receive your compensation funds without any further delay, kindly contact him on listed contact information.
Dr. Ike Michael.
No 1/6 wuse st Akpapa Segbeya, Accra-Ghana
Email:( firstname.lastname@example.org )
We will request you to get back to this office as soon as you have received and confirmed your payment in your bank.
Making the world a better place.
Mrs. Georgette Robert
(For African Union Commission).
PO Box 3243. Addis-Ababa , Ethiopia.