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:
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "(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: UN Staff <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 05:47:20 +0000
Subject: urgent reply needed
Sgt. John Mensa a staff to UN nation Ghana, I want to know if you have any
missing consignment in hands of delivery agents? Because one ex-delivery
staff is held in our custody for disappearing on delivery trip to
abroad some period ago with funds consignment belonging to unknown person, he
was caught with huge cash amount in Cayman Island without proper
documentation that proves him as the rightful ownership of the funds and
thereby was arrested and deported to Ghana after Cayman Island authorities traces
his routing from Africa continent, but he recently confessed and announced
under torture that he was on delivery mission before he decided to divert the
consignment to Non-IMF member country for personal claim of the funds instead
of delivering to the owner. Therefore we urge you to urgently reply to this
question with the following informations as to enable us crosscheck the
details and to be sure you are the real concerned person as the email appeared.
Copy of your passport or valid identification ID.
Mobile phone number,
the above request will enable us give you bond receipt from our office towards
the reclaim as the funds consignment in question are deposited in a bank while
the investigation are ongoing. Any further delaying may warrant confiscation of
the funds by economic community of the West African states (ECOWAS) as unclean