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)
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "million united states 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)
- "diplomatic agent" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "contact the diplomat" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- 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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Nelson William <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2011 08:01:09 +0800 (SGT)
Att: Dear Friend,
We wish to inform you that the diplomatic agent conveying the consignment box valued the sum of $4.5 Million United States Dollars misplaced your address and he is currently stranded at the International airport now. We required you re-confirm the following information below so that he can deliver your consignment box to you today and You can also call him immediately to enable him complete your delivery today because he has been long there waiting for your call.
(1)Your Full Name=============
(2)Mobile Phone Number======
(3)Current Home Address========
(7)Nearest Airport ==============
(8)A Copy of Your I D For Identification.
Please do contact the diplomatic agent with the email below with the information required immediately.
Contact Person : Nelson William
He is waiting to hear from you today with the information.
NOTE : The Diplomatic agent does not know that the content of the consignment box is $4.5Million United States Dollars and on no circumstances should you let him know the content. The consignment was moved from here as family values, so never allow him to open the box.
REV. Benson Laurent
UPS MANAGING DIRECTOR BENIN REPUBLIC