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)
- "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. )
- "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.
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Opong Agabi." (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2018 01:15:15 -0800
Subject: Contact the Federal FedEx Company For Your Package
Dear Friend ,
Since i waited so long without hearing from you regarding your confirm
able draft worth of $900.000.00,I went ahead and cashed the money and
registered it with Trans world courier service as box of African clothes
with instruction to deliver it to you upon your contact to their office,I
am leaving today to another country for three months course.You can
contact them now to avoid them delaying with the box.
Bear in mind that i have paid all the charges they requested,Both mailing
charges and insurance.All you need to do is to pay their security keeping
fee of $55USD,I would have paid it before leaving but they insisted that it
will be paid by you since they don't know when you will be contacting
them.Below is their contact details remember that I registered it as
African clothes do not allow them know that it content its money if not
they may delay you more and charge you more know that the only money you
are supposed to pay them is the keeping fee of $55USD:
Contact Person : Ken David
Email Address :firstname.lastname@example.org
phone number ; +229 6822 6340
Remember to reconfirm your postal address to them and you can update me as
soon as you receive the draft via email.
Mr Opong Agabi.