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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "Barrister Francis Woodgate." <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 08:42:34 +0800 (PHT)
I just want to inform you that I have packaged and deposited your ATM
MASTERCARD worth $500,000 USD with FedEx Delivery Services to deliver it
Find FedEx Contact Information Below:
Contact Officer:Agent Joseph
Shipment Code: CPEL/OWN/9856
Parcel Number: EG2272-NG
Kindly Re-confirm the Dispatch Information for the Delivery by providing
the Information stated Below:
Full Name;........ Home Address;........ Country;......
Telephone;........ Shipment Code;.........
Once again,Insurance and delivery charges have been paid for, but the only
fee remaining is the security safe keeping fee of $250 USD which you will
be required to pay. Also note that Fedex Services do not know the content
of the parcel,I registered it as an African magazine,they do not know it
contains ATM MASTERCARD inside. The ATM MASTERCARD has pin number
8876.Contact Agent Boo immediately to avoid further delay of delivery.
Barrister Francis Woodgate.