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:
- "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. )
- "mtcn" (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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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.
- 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: "UNITED STATES POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2011 01:02:59 +0100
Subject: UNITED STATES POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE.
UNITED STATES POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE.
This is to notify you that we have intercepted your parcel from DHL COURIER SERVICE,we have stopped the delivery process for some security reasons stated below:
1. Our scanning system has detected that your parcel contains a confirmable ATM CARD to the tune of $800,000.00 USD..
2. Such ATM CARD coming from African /Europe/Asia is been verified by the POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE which we have directed our inspection team to proceed with the verification to ascertain the authenticity of the ATM CARD and now after all the verification on the Parcel/ATM CARD, having contacted the issuing institution who made it known to our office that the ATM CARD is a Genuine one and Not ILLEGALLY ACQUIRED.
We have also forwarded the Serial Number of the ATM CARD to the U.S, Treasury Department and they confirmed that the CARD is Authentic and ready to be cashed at any ATM MACHINES.
Also for the Delivery of the Parcel to continue, you are in obligation to obtain from Spain,
a Duly Sworn Affidavit from Spanish High Court which will back up the Origin of Fund.
This is in line with the Anti-Terrorist Campaign which the USA Government has embarked on recently to protect our Territory from future attacks.
You should therefore contact the sender of the CARD or the DHL Courier Agent in Madrid Spain to get the Sworn Affidavit for you while we wait to receive from you the Affidavit File Number to enable us forward your ATM CARD to your address.
Below is his contact information. Note that the cost of the Affidavit is US$195 Dollars and do not hesitate to remit the amount to him by western union money transfer with the above informations stated below.
WESTERN UNION RECEIVER INFORMATION
AMOUNT: $195 ONLY
ADDRESS:C/ORTEGA 15, CITY: MADRID COUNTRY: SPAIN
You are advice to send the following payment information back.
Upon payment for the Affidavit kindly revert back the payment information on the western union money receipt to the follow contact below.
Name: Mr. Jay White
Tel: Tel: +34 672 914 106
We shall then forward the CARD to you and you will be sure of a genuine CARD that is coming to you.
We are doing this for your interest considering the rate which fraudulent and stolen checks/CARD are been sent to our innocent citizen that most times put them in problem. Always send your correspondence to our secure.
Your urgent action on this notice will be appreciated.
Chief Postal Inspector,
U.S. Postal Inspection Service