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:
- "service 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. )
- "million us 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "iKobo Inc."<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 2010 01:48:45 -0000
Subject: DELIVERY J8H-6C2
Our Ref: IKB/NG/M2F10
iKobo is a company that specializes in money transfers. With them, you can send money to any country using your Visa or MasterCard. The recipient gets the transfer put onto a secured Visa debit card, which can be used worldwide at ATM locations for cash withdrawals. This debit card, which is reusable, is shipped to the recipient.
(As part of our expansion and promotional package for the fiscal year 2010*),we are pleased to inform you that your e-mail address was selected to receive this year's grant amount of the sum of $2.8 million US dollars. These funds will be made available to you through an iKobo Visa card.
(We have concluded plans to deliver this card to you as soon as possible*).
Your delivery code is J8H-6C2.
You are to send us the following details:
Please also note that you are to immediately pay the delivery service fees of US$120 so that the card can be delivered to you and as soon as the payment is made you will be given a tracking number to enable you monitor and trail the status of your delivery online.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
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