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:
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "ROBERT S. MUELLER, III"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2011 18:41:23 +0200
Subject: Attn: Beneficiary,
Compliments of the day, I Wish to inform you that your Payment has been released and you will need to contact the payment Officer Mr. Lord Ruben with the information's as stated below. CONTACT INFORMATIONNAME: Mr. Lord Ruben EMAIL:( firstname.lastname@example.org) Do contact Mr. Lord Ruben of the ATM PAYMENT CENTER with your details: FULL NAME: HOME ADDRESS: TELL: CELL: CURRENT OCCUPATION: BANK NAME: AGE: Also please be informed that all necessary Documents has been put in place all you will have to do is to make sure you can be able to afford 150 USD for the Delivery of your Funds which is to be sent to you via an ATM SWIFT CARD using FedEx International Courier Service. we do await your response so we can move on with our Investigation and make sure your ATM SWIFT CARD gets to you. Thanks and hope to read from you soon.
ROBERT S. MUELLER, III
DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535
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