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:
- 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:
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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: "Mrs. J.C Alwin" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2018 22:13:23 -0700
Subject: RE: Reply
Hello my long time friend, how are you? You may not Know me again,
but I contacted you previously about a business transaction, dont
know if you will remember. Actually you agreed to help me then but
later opted out. Well I was able to successfully transfer the money
to another friend that helped me.
Anyways, due to your little effort then I have decided to show my
gratitude, I got some gifts for you, Gold jewelries, iPads and
laptops and other surprises.
I am having a quick trip today so I decided to drop the items with the
courier. Please get in touch with the courier to deliver the items to you.
Global Courier Services
Oh before I forget, inside the 10 laptops you will see 25,000 USD each
thats 250,000 USD in total I hid inside the laptops so nobody will see it.
When you email them ask about code item 636-56 that is awaiting delivery.
Thanks for your zeal to assist me then. You are a nice person.
Mrs. J.C Alwin,