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. )
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
- +447024043916 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "UPS West London Centre" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 2009 08:25:45 -0800
Subject: Confirm Your UPS Parcel Delivery!!
UPS West London Centre
353 Regis Road, Kentish Road
London, NW5 3UP.
Good day to you. We have been waiting for you to contact us for your
Confirmable Package that is registered with us for shipping of your Package to
your residential location. This is to inform you that we are in possession of
your Parcel which includes a certified cheque worth of 250,000.00 GBP and other
vital documents that we facilitate the clearance of the cheque in your country.
Be rest assured that, your cheque has been confirmed valid and true and
delivery will be made once you have met the necessary requirements.
Note that as soon as our Delivery Team confirms your informations, it will take
only two working days (48 hours) for your package to arrive it designated destination.
This is mandatory, kindly complete the below form to reconfirm your Postal information:
For your information, the Mail, VAT & Shipping fees have been paid by the
Lottery Award Promo Board before your package was registered. What you
need to pay is the Security keeping fee of the UPS Company as stated in our
privacy terms & condition page, in order to secure your Package. The cost for
the Security keeping fee is 185 GBP.
Simply contact our UPS DELIVERY MANAGER Mr. Francis Lauren, at
Tel: + 44 702 404 3916
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