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:
- "into your nominated bank account" (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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "(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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "ECOWAS OFFICE" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2014 09:20:52 -0500
Subject: READ AND REPLY URGENTLY......
- This mail is in HTML. Some elements may be ommited in plain text. -
ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICA STATES(ECOWAS)
APPROVED/DESIGNATED OFFICE FOR
FOREIGN DEBT VERIFICATION, RECONCILIATION, SETTLEMENT/PAYMENT
RE: PAYMENT OF US3, 800,000 TO FOREIGN BENEFICIARY AS INITIAL PAYMENT FOR OVERDUE FUND
I am Barr. Alex Matez. I have the mandate and full authority from a super ceding authority to verify your transaction and subsequently release/transfer your overdue funds into your nominated bank account if no irregularity is uncovered during the process of verification.
As you may rightly want to know, this development was necessitated as a result of massive outcry/complaint from bona fide foreign beneficiaries globally on the issue of delay, hindrances and repeated problems on foreign payments which also includes attachment of difficult and unfavourable conditions from agencies, authorities and financial institutions within ECOWAS region which in no small measures contributed as an obstacle to foreign beneficiaries in receiving their funds.
In order to proffer a lasting and sustainable solution to these problems the ECONOMIC COMMUNITIES OF WEST AFRICA STATES(ECOWAS) had to wedge into the matter by setting up a panel to review and submit report on this sensitive issues in order to remedy the situation and also to redeem the lost image of ECOWAS region.
In line with the report of the panel, all charges, fees and unnecessary payments which beneficiaries were liable to for one reason or the other have been cancelled and a total sum of US$3,800,000(Three million, eight hundred US Dollars) have been earmarked as initial payment for every affected beneficiaries. Therefore, the only thing you need to do as a foreign beneficiary of the said funds from any ECOWAS country is to procure a TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER(TIN) in accordance with the new directives.
Further, note that Ghana has been appointed as the only authorized payment centre because of its position as a sanitized and peaceful nation, this means that all payments originally sourced and accrued from all countries within the ECOWAS country have been channeled to Ghana for onward transfer to qualified foreign beneficiaries.
We have been instructed to conclude the entire exercise on or before the ending of year the 2014. Any beneficiary who fails to meet up within the stipulated period would have his/her funds paid into the ECOWAS treasury as unclaimed fund.
Finally, to help us commence with the process of transfer in accordance with the new directives you will be required to send us useful details as stated below for reconfirmation in order to avoid wrong payment/transfer.
1. FULL NAMES AND ADDRESS:
2. TELEPHONE NUMBER:
3. TOTAL AMOUNT DUE:
4. SOURCE OF PAYMENT:
6. DATE OF BIRTH:
7. BANK DETAILS:
Please respond to this Email Via:-
I await your prompt response.
Barr. Alex Matez.