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:
- "contract award committee" (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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: "Dr. Kennedy Ocran" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2012 19:47:09 -0500
Subject: Business Arrrangement.
Compliments of the day to you. I hope your doing well and that this letter meets you and your family in good
health.On my honor, I want to introduce myself, my name is Dr.Kennedy Ocran, I am the chairman of
Contract Tender Board/Award Committee of West African Health Support Organization (WAHSO) we have
our headquarters in Accra Ghana from where I operates but our sub and area offices are in all member
states of the organization. This organization is an arm of the Economic Communities of West African States
(ECOWAS). It is the largest single organization operating here in West African sub-region with 15 member
states and my organization sees about health support related matters in the whole region.
In 2006 there was an outbreak of cerebral meningitis in many member states of our region including Mali,
Republic of Niger, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde. The outbreak of this disease and its
rapid spread was alarming and a disaster so my organization was mandated by the regional executive body
to immediately take every necessary action to bring the situation under control. We swung into action in
collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO). We awarded contracts to various drug manufactures
and large drug distributing companies both in South Africa, Europe and Asia for supply of drugs and related
services for both cure and prevention of the disease from spreading to other states.
The contract entered with those companies was initially meant to last for 1yr but unfortunately we found out
before the end of the contract that we grossly underestimated the situation at hand then the contract was
extended for more 1yr and more companies were also engaged in the war against the disease and its spread
which ended in early 2009.
During the deliberations and the processing of the contracts, myself and members of my committee connived
and inflated the value of the contract to the tune of $48.3M The contract has been completed long
before now and full payments made to all the suppliers of both drugs and services used in the fight against
the disease while the disease itself has been declared flushed in the areas.
The balance of the inflated amount has been floating in the balance sheet of the agency's account and
recently the bank manager wrote and required me to forward account where the remaining of the balance
will be paid to. It is on this regard that I made inquiries through Ghana-Asia Chamber of Commerce here
where I got your contact and decided to bring you into this transaction.
What we need is for you to provide a durable account that we would use to receive this money for the
benefit of all of us. We made up this mark up in order take care of our retirement benefits because some
of us in this committee are due for retirement soon and we believe this will help in no small measure to
effect great change in our generations coupled with the fact that the project was a multimillion dollar one
so it provided a very unique and great opportunity for us all.
If you will want to partner with us as a businessman you will know that you must be able to provide an
account that will have the capacity to contain the volume of money involved and then we can negotiate
with you the protocol and sharing formula of the money as well as investment possibilities.
We are matured men in the highest cadres of our careers and would want to protect both our reputation
which we have worked hard over the years to build, our family names, careers and grown up children we
have, so we would want you to take this transaction serious and give it it's desired attention if you accepts
Please confirm the receipt of this message and let us know your position immediately.
Contract Award Committee
West African Health Support Organization (WAHSO)
South Labadi Beach Estate, Accra Ghana.