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:
- "million united states 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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "(ecowas)" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "liberia" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "lome togo" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- states (ecowas) annex,lome repulic of togo. email: email@example.com 'strictly confidential' account provision for usd 16 (Aol; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Moses Arnett" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2013 23:42:54 -0000
Subject: NEWS FLASH
OFFICE OF THE CHAIRMAN
CONTRACT AWARD &
ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF
WEST AFRICAN STATES (ECOWAS)
ANNEX,LOME REPULIC OF TOGO.
ACCOUNT PROVISION FOR USD 16 MILLION.
Forgive my indignation if this message comes to you as a surprise and if it might offend you without your prior consent and writing through this channel.
I am Moses Arnett,The Chairman, Contract Awarding committee of the ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES ( ECOWAS)with Headquarters in Lome, Togo.
I got your contact through Network on line in my search for a reliable and reputable person to handle a very confidential transaction that involves a transfer of fund to a foreign account and I decided to write you.
After discussing my view and your profile with my colleagues,they were very much satisfied and decided to contact you immediately for this mutual business relationship.We wish to transfer the sum of USD16m (Sixteen Million United States Dollars only.)into your personal or company`s bank account.
This fund was a residue of the over invoiced contract bills awarded by us for the supply of hard/softwares,phamaceauticals/medical items,light and heavy duty vehicles, apperals and other administrative logistics etc for the ECOMOG in Sierria-Leone and Liberia during the Peace Keeping Projects.
This DEAL was deliberately hatched out and carefully protected with all the attendant lope holes sealed off.As the Chairman of CAC,I have the cooperation and mandate of the Financial Director and the Secretary of the Organisation.We arranged and over invoiced the contract funds supplied by different companies from different countries during the crisis.
It was our consensus to seek the assistance of a willing foreigner to provide us with the facilities to transfer this money out of West Africa.This is borne out of our beleif in the non-stable and sporous political nature of this sub-region.
The original contractors have been duely paid by the Banque Centrale Des Etats De L`Afrique De L`Ouest (Central Bank of the West African States)through our bankers-INTERNATIONAL BANK OF AFRICA(IBA)UNION TOGOLAISE DE BANQUE(UTB),ECO BANK,BTCI BANK LOME TOGO.
This balance is suspended in the escrow accounts awaiting claims by any foreign company of our choice.We intend to pay out this fund now as the organisation is winding up its activities since the aim of returning PEACE to the countries and the coast has been achieved.
Based on the laws and ethics of employment,we as civil servants working under this organisation, are not allowed to operate a foreign account.
This is the more reason why we needed your assistance to provide an account that can sustain this fund for safe keeping and our future investment with your comprehensive advise,assistance and partnership in your country.
It is however agreed,as the account owner in this deal to allow you 30% of the entire sum as compensation, 65% will be held on trust for us while 5% will be usedto defray any incidental charges and cost during the course of the transaction.
This transaction will be successfully concluded within 14 days if you accord us your unalloyed and due cooperation.You should provide the followings;
YOUR COMPANY`S NAME WITH COMPLETE ADDRESS,
TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBERS.(if available)
THE NAME OF YOUR BANK,ITS ADDRESS WITH TEL,FAX AND YOUR
ACCOUNT NUMBER, THE COMPLETE MAILING ADRRESS OF THE BENEFICIARY WITH TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBERS.
Upon the receipt of this informations,i will forward them to the organisation for ratification and subsequent payment.
As with the case of all organised (sensitive)and conspired DEALS,we solicit for your unreserved confidentiality and utmost secret in this business. We hope to retire peacefully and leave a honourable business life afterwards.There are no risks involved.
You can reach me through my private phone +228 91 31 47 03 for more details.
Thanks while i look forward to your positive reply.Please reply back to me on my private email id if you are interested firstname.lastname@example.org or mosesArnett@aol.com