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:
- "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. )
- "western union" (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. )
- "trunk box" (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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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: "Susan Mills" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2010 17:36:32 -0700
Subject: RE: Shipping..TRUNK BOX
I just want to inform you that I have packaged and deposited your TRUNK BOX worth 1.5Million USD at the Nigerian International Air Port with Nasuba Express Delivery Services to deliver it to you.
Find Nasuba Express Contact Information Below :
Contact Officer: Mr. Sean Harris
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +234 8083475523... Make sure you Call
Kindly Re-confirm the Dispatch Information for the Delivery by the Information stated Below:
A copy of your Identification:....
Note: The only fee that will be charged is just 115USD for the SECURITY SAFE KEEPING FEE of your TRUNK BOX, Because no one is permitted to open up the TRUNK BOX as it is against the law because of the documents which has been signed by the New President Federal Republic Of Nigeria, If you are willing to get your funds in three working days, Please make fast the payment of the USD125 through the western union money transfer to the details that i shall provide.
Once again,Insurance and delivery charges have been paid for, but the only fee remaining is the SECURITY SAFE KEEPING FEE of 115USD which you will be required to pay. Also note that Nasuba Express World Wide do not know the content of the parcel,I registered it as an African magazine,they do not know it contains 1.5Million USD inside. The TRUNK BOX has a pin code number 8346 operate it when your Receive the Package.
Awaits your shipping information and Security Keeping Fee 115USD so that we can Proceed Immediately.
Barrister Susan Mills