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:
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "United Parcel Service" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 11:09:17 -0400
Subject: UPS Customer Service!
Date: 18th of APRIL 2011.
This mail is to remind you of your registered package. CONTENT: Bank Draft of $800,000.00 USD officially registered by an Official of the United Nation Lottery Board.
For your information the VAT and COD have Date: 5TH of APRIL 2011. This parcel have been in our custody for too long and we are about returning it to the sender if you do not come up and claim your parcel immediately.
For your information the VAT and COD have been paid. Please Contact UPS Delivery Department Mrs. Sarah Owen for shipment details and requirements.
It is mandatory to reconfirm your Postal address and telephone number:
Mrs. Gloria Lambert
Copyright cUPS 1994-2011 United Parcel Service of America, Inc. All rights reserved..
This E-mail is only for the above addressees. It may contain confidential or privileged information. If you are not an addressee you must not copy, distribute, disclose or use any of the information in it or any attachments.been paid.