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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "activation fee" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "security keeping fee" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Dauline Gdenks" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Dec 2009 13:55:16 +0100 (CET)
Subject: YOUR PAYMENT OF (1.5 MILLION USD) FROM UNITED NATIONS IS
WAITING FOR YOU.
This is to bring to your notice that I have paid the re-activation fee
andthe delivery of your Visa Card. I paid it because the International
BankDraft worth of $1.5m has less than Seven days to expire and when it
the money will diverted into Federal Government treasury account.With that
I decided to help you pay off the money so that the International Bank
Draft will not expire, because I trust that when you receive your Visa
Card definitely you must pay me back my money and even
compensate me for helping you. The only money you will send to the FEDEX
COURIER SERVICES to deliver your ATM CARD direct 1.5M to your physical
Address in your country is ($80.00 USD).
Eighty United States Dollars only being Security Keeping Fee of the
Company so far. Again, don't be deceived by anybody to pay any other money
except $80.00 US Dollars. I would have paid that but they said no because
they don't know when you will contacting them and in case of demurrage.
Below is their Contact Information,
FEDEX COURIER SERVICES
Manager, Nelson Febian
Tel: 00 229 98 252468
Fax 00229 93 161153
Contact them Today to avoid delay send them:
YOUR FULL NAME..............
COPY OF YOUR ID...........
and let me know once you receive your card, please don't forget me when
you received it.
God bless you.
Asistant to UN General Secretary (United Nations)