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:
- "security keeping 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. )
- "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)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. David Beardsley" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2014 04:20:19 -0500
Subject: Attention: Did You Authorize Anyone to claim your consignment box?
Attention: Consignment Owner,
I am writing to you in respect to your consignment box which is in custody of the Airport Cargo Unit, Today i received a letter from a Man by the name Anthony Wilkings of 276 Johnson Ave.NW,Cokato, MN 55321 USA, who is trying to make claim your consignment box, he started that you had a slit illness which had decapitated you, he approached me and said that you had issued him as your next of Kin and authorized him to claim your consignment box which is valued at $2,316,000.00, he has offered to clear the security keeping charges of $330.00 Levied on you which is the total amount for the security keeping fees so that the funds would be released to him. I therefore want you to get back to me immediately you receive this message and let me know if you know and authorized this man to claim your consignment box.
Please reconfirm your delivery address to avoid delivery to the wrong person.
Next of Kin:
You have until the end of tomorrow to get back to me and clear the security keeping charges so that your consignment box which is still sitting here would be released to you for immediate delivery to your door step, i await your kind and urgent response.
Waiting for your immediate response.
Director of Delivery Operations.
ALL AMERICAN COURIER SERVICE.