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)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "insurance 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. )
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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)
- "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.
- 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: "Dr.Lamido Sanusi"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2011 05:18:20 -0800
Subject: Dear Friend,
I have been waiting for you since to come down here and pick your ATM CARD but i did not heard anything from you since then, I have deposited the ATM CARD worth US$5,000,000.00 with TNT DELIVERY COMPANY here in Nigeria, before I traveled to China and I will not come back till end of the year.I have arranged with TNT DELIVERY COMPANY to get your ATM CARD worth S$5,000,000.00 to you this month and they will be coming to you with the ATM CARD inside black portfolio, I would have deposited the ATM CARD with Bank for transfer into your own account but the procedure of Bank is too much and they will required enough fee.I drop your delivery details with the TNT DELIVERY COMPANY but I will like you to re-confirm the information to them again so that they will not be any mistake when coming with the ATM CARD.
Send the below information to the TNT DELIVERY COMPANY.
I want you to know that you have all right to declare how you want to receive your ATM CARD, I would have prefer the fund to be transfer to you but I make some searches about the Bank transfer and they told me that it will cost you the sum of US$15,000 to transfer the US$5,000,000.00 into your account.But I have deposited the ATM CARD to the TNT DELIVERY COMPANY, below is the TNT DELIVERY COMPANY.
Director: Mr. Paul Ego.
I have paid the delivery charges and insurance fee to the TNT DELIVER COMPANY. The only Money that the TNT DELIVERY COMPANY will require from you is $105 Dollars for demurrage, if you can pay the $105 Dollars to them, they will proceed and get the ATM CARD to you in your Country.Ps if you want to contact the TNT DELIVERY COMPANY, you are to contact them with your portfolio code number which is (PPL111RSS) and your address where you want them to deliver the ATM CARD to.You are to pay the $105 to the TNT DELIVERY COMPANY to enable them to proceed and get the ATM CARD to you, don't fail to resend your information to them for your own good.
Dr. Lamido Sanusi.