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:
- "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 company" (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 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 (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- incharge of delivering unit e-maill address......(firstname.lastname@example.org) company e-mail..(email@example.com) all the (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "DR WILLIAM SMITH" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2009 06:37:13 +0100
Subject: CONTACT D.H.L DIRECTOR FOR YOUR BOX XQD7819-SC
This is good news for you about your long awaited fund,the fund $4.2 million us
dollar was deposted yesterday by 2:45 p.m at D.H.L COURIER COMPANY, the depositor is mr william
smith,the cash was packaged in a small box and the registration number is xqd7819-sc,therefore
contact the courier company by reconfirming your right info to them. such as your name,your
personel phone number,and your house address,the courier contact person is mr lewis kennedy
as the director incharge of delivering unit E-maill address......(firstname.lastname@example.org)
COMPANY E-MAIL..(email@example.com) all the fee and the four prove documents
has been handed over to the company director.the only money you will send to the company is daily
security keeping fee of $34.00 per day,therefore contact them immediately.
regard william smith