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:
- "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)
- "(efcc)" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "(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: "Mr Ibrahim Magu"<email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2018 03:50:04 +0800
Subject: YOUR CO-OPERATION NEEDED URGENTLY
We are the Economic & Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) in alliance with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with head office here in Nigeria; we have been working towards the eradication of fraud and scam Artists in Western Africa region with the support of the United States Government and the United Nations.
Based on our finding on record, we discovered that you have so many transactions with some individuals which ended up unsuccessful in Ghana, Benin Republic and Nigeria.
We apologize to you as we failed to intervene earlier than this as part of our commitment and to tender remorse; we have decided to compensate you with a sum of $5.7Million USD as a way to redeem the image of our country in accordance with the welfare scheme programme on eradication of fraud.
Did you actually authorize Valynda S. Brown from Florida to receive your $5.700, 000,00M (five million seven hundred thousand united STATES dollars) she came to Nigeria telling us you sent her to inherit your fund by presenting three different documents which are yet to be confirmed on whether they¡¯re genuine or not thus we seek your candid and immediate advice on the issue on ground, she has been advised to come back tomorrow for more interrogation.
Please contact the following information to receive the compensation welfare benefits immediately.
Mr Ibrahim Magu
Acting Chairman, EFCC