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:
- "outstanding contractors" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "(ecowas)" (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)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: Ecobank Plc <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2014 18:36:12 +0100
Subject: APPROVAL OF YOUR CONTRACT INHERITANCE SUM OF US$5.8 MILLION
ECOBANK NIGERIA PLC
FOREIGN REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT
Plot 21, Ahmadu Bello Way,
Victoria Island, Lagos - Nigeria.
SWIFT CODE (BIC): ECOCNGLA
ISIN CODE: NGECOBANK000
BATCH NO.: FGN/093002-14
APPROVAL OF YOUR CONTRACT INHERITANCE SUM OF US$5.8 MILLION
We have today receive a credit instruction from Economic Community of West
African States (Ecowas) which is in accordance with the meeting held on 4th
November 2014 at Ecowas secretariat Abuja with all the fifteen West
African heads of state and members of the Ecowas Commission, African Union,
United Nations and World Bank dignitaries over nonpayment of foreign
contractors fund by the Ecowas member states countries and we therefore
apologizes for the unlawful delays of your fund by the above mention
countries central bank and other financial institutions.
However, we have been mandated by the ECOWAS Commission to release your
payment to you within the next 72hrs and Ecobank being the Ecowas Bank is
the leading independent pan-African bank, with affiliates in West, Central
and East Africa. The ECOWAS Commission, United Nations and World Bank have
instructed us to release your Contract Inheritance payment to you and from
the records of outstanding contractors/inherited funds due for payment,
your name and company is on the list of the major contractors/Inheritors
who have been approved for payment this Last Batch Payment Release Order.
We want to use this medium inform you that your payment is being processed
and will be released to you via Ktt Wire Transfer as soon as you respond
to this letter and from the record in your file submitted to us, the sum
USD$5.8 Millions Dollars has been approved for immediate release to you, so
kindly contact us for the immediate release of your already approved funds
that tested ok!
Please re-confirm to us the followings for onward processing of the release
of your fund into your bank account.
1) Your full name
2) Contact Address
3) Direct Telephone Number.
5) Working Id
6) Banking Information.
As a result of the on-going drive of the Ecowas Commission to update its
books and clear payment to contractors, I strongly recommend that you
promptly start your clearance as soon as possible for more clarification
and for immediate release of your funds.
Yours in Service,
Mr. Jibril Aku