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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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)
- "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. )
- "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)
- "the diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "inland revenue" (Tax offices mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. Even after you pay their fake tax demands you will still not receive the non-existent funds you have been promised. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR. RICHARD WOOD" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2011 17:06:21 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: WELCOME TO USA CUSTOMS SERVICES AUTHORITY .
CUSTOMS SERVICES USA AUTHORITY COUNTRY
DIRECTOR OFFICE IN CHARFE.
MR RICHARD WOOD.
ATTENTTION:MY DEAR FRIEND.,
THIS IS TO INFORM YOU ABOUT YOUR PACKAGE HERE THAT WAS CONFISCATED BY THIS US CUSTOM OFFICE IN MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FLORIDA YOUR PACKAGE IS HERE FOR LONGTIME NOW DUE TO YOUR DELAY AFTER THE DIPLOMAT AGENT ARRIVE FROM AFRICAN WITH THE CONSIGNMENT BOX WORTHS OF $3.5 USD AND WE ARE TO GIVE YOU 12 HOURS FOR YOU TO GET ALL YOUR CLEARANCE PAPER WORKS OUT, WITH THE AMOUNT OF $88 DOLLARS ONLY,
WE NEED IT AT THE OFFICE BEFORE THIS HOURS OR THE CONSIGNMENT BOX WILL BE SEIZED AGAIN FOR THE FINAL DIVERTION BY GOVERNMENT OF USA AT FLORIDA HERE AND YOU WILL LOSE THE CONSIGNMENT ,
BESIDES NO CONSIGNMENT BOX LEAVES THE INTERNATIONAL AIR PORT WITH OUT OUR NEEDED CUSTOMS CLEARANCE CERTIFCATE WHICH COST ONLY $88 BECAUSE SOMETIME AGO NOW THE DIPLOMAT HAVE BEEN EMAILING YOU TO SEND US OUR CLEARANCE CERTIFCATEB FEES BUT YOU KEEP ON DELAYING THEN WE ADVICE AGAIN IF YOU MISS THIS WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY THAT MEANS IT WILL BE VERY HARD FOR YOU TO GET THIS CONSIGNMENT AGAIN ,
ONCE AGAIN WE NEED YOUR ANXIOUS MAIL DIRECT TO THIS US CUSTOM OFFICE BEFORE THIS HOURS FOR YOUR CONSIGNMENT TO LEAVE THIS AIR PORT TO YOUR LOCATION.
You can direct the CLEARANCE CERTIFCATE fees to our Head Office in inland revenue service in benin republic as the origin of your consignment box and they will get it obtain to enable the U.S custom release this man diplomat agent to your destination and they are entitled to receive any payment to foreign countries and also NOTE that the require payment of $88 shall sent to USA here for security reason so that we can forward .to the inland revenue service in Benin Republic as the originator of your consignment box
Receiver: Ngosine John
Country: Benin Republic.
Test: For what?
Sender ,Name ...,
CONTACT US BACK ON THIS E-MAIL ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
MR. RICHARD WOOD.