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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million dollars" (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)
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic agent" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- 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: "Sgt Marvin Oliver" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 2009 09:14:16 -0500
I am Sgt Marvin Oliver,i am delighted to inform you that the contract panel here in London that just concluded its seating here in our department have just released your name among their immunity agent that will benefit from the diplomatic immunity payment. This panel was primarily delegated by the united nation to investigate manipulated over-invoiced payment as the effect has eaten deep into the economy of our country united kingdom.
I hereby inform you that the united nation and British government has choosing you as their immunity agent there in your country to stand and receive this total amount of $10.1 million dollars by cash immunity delivery to your country which you are to meet with the diplomats on their arrival there in your country international airport to enable them take the clearance on face to face clearing with the customs at the airport to enable them move it to your doorstep without any inspection by the government agent as it has been directed by the united nation and British government.
In this regards, We are going to send your immunity cash payment to you via our accredited shipping company on diplomatic means which all the immunity needed documents to cover this immunity cash funds has been secured, the cash funds is coming on two security proof boxes which the boxes has already been sealed with synthetic nylon and padded with machine.
Please you must know that the united nation want you to pay 50% of this total amount ($10.1 million dollars) to any motherless babies home there in your country.
You don't need to worry for anything because this transaction is 100 risk free, the boxes are coming with a diplomatic agent who will accompany the boxes to your house or office there in your country.
Forward to us your contact information as it is stated below:
1. Full Name and address
2. Direct cell/home telephone number
3. Identification, either your id-card, driver's license or international passport.
As soon as i receive the requested information and confirm your readiness to handle this matter, i will process your immunity cash funds proof of ownership certificate and your cash funds delivery approvals form "D" and forward them to you for your own view and record, then i will advise you with the date and time the diplomats will arrive your country.
Forward you next response to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you call me on this telephone number +44-762-413-2116 immediately you forward your information so that even if am not on seat,i can go and check my email for immediate action.
I wait to hear from you soon.
Sgt Marvin Oliver