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:
- "fund beneficiary" (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: Paul Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Paul Johnson <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2014 23:15:43 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Draft payment advise
Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way,
Draft payment advise.
From; Mr. Segun Fadahunsi
General Manager - Head,
Systems and Control Division,
Attention; Draft fund Beneficiary.
This is to inform you that today we receive from our corresponding bank in Ghana Ecowas bank of Ghana to transfer the sum of $3.5m usd only which was deposited in draft on your favour for transfer.
We are hereby contacting you to send to us the following informations.
FULL NAME AND ADDRESS.
YOUR OCCUPATION AND AGE.
YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER(MOBILE).
As soon as those informations requested received for confirmation that you are rigthful owner of the draft fund, you will be updated with the details on how you will receive your draft fund.
Thanks for your co-operation in this transfer transaction.
Your's in service.
Personal secretary to
Mr. Segun Fadahunsi