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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "(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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Dave Opoku <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2016 07:48:39 +0000
Subject: Dear Friend,
I am Mr. Dave Asamuah Opoku, the chairman of the contract-awarding (ECOWAS). I am making this contact with you based on the committee need for an individual / company who is willing to assist me with a solution to a money transfer.
This amount $23.5M (Twenty Three Million Five hundred thousand United States Dollars) represents the balance of the total contract value executed on behalf of ECOWAS for supply of hospital equipment from foreign contracting firm, which we the officials over-invoiced deliberately, of which the actual sum has been paid. You will be required to.
(1) Assist in the transfer of the said funds
(2) Advise on lucrative areas for investment
Should you be willing to assist us in this transaction? Your share of the sum will be 30% of the $23.5 Million, 65% for us and 5% for taxation and miscellaneous expenses. To enable us commence, you should provide your phone number for immediate kickoff of this deal if it interests you.
Waiting for your positive response at email@example.com.
Mr. Dave Asamuah Opoku.