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)
- "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. )
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Johnson Hall" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2011 01:15:48 -0800 (PST)
Subject: CONTACT UPS COURIER NOW FOR YOYR PACKAGE
Your Bank Draft worth of $1.8million usd has been credited in ATM VISA
CARD by the issuing Bank, be inform that you can not withdraw more than
$2.500 per day this is what the Bank said you will see the rest details
when you receive it ,I have also registered your ATM VISA CARD $1.8million
usd with (UPS) Express Company reconfirm your contact information as
follows Your full name Delivery Address Telephone Number Your state and
Your full name....................Delivery Address ................Telephone Number.........Your state City.................Your Country,.................. Contact Person Dr. Frank White
Email; email@example.comEmail;firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone number +229-98-95-30-88
So I have pay for delivering and insurance charges, I paid it, so the only
money you will pay them is security keeping fee which they state that I
will not pay for it because the keeping fee is $35 dollars per day, and I
deposited it yesterday been Thursday 17/02/2011, And I did not contact
you yesterday due to low connection, so that is why 1 did not pay for
keeping fee, So I want you to contact urgent to avoid increase of their
Your faith fully