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:
- "a diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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: "Walter James" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2010 05:30:19 +0200
Subject: Urgent Attention with due respect.
From: Diplomat Walter James
JFK International Airport, USA
I am a Diplomat Walter James. Mandated to deliver your inheritance to you in your country of residence. The funds total US$6.4 Million where package in two box and you were made the beneficiary of these funds by a benefactor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi the newly appointed Governor Central Bank of Nigeria.
I am presently at JFK International Airport here in the United States of America and before I can deliver the package (funds) to you, you have to reconfirm the following information so as to ensure that I am dealing with the right person.
1. Full Name
2. Residential Address
5. Direct Telephone Numbers
6. A Copy of Your Identification.
After verification of the information with what I have on file, I shall contact you so that we can make arrangements on the exact time I will be bringing your package to your residential address. Send the requested information so that we can proceed by calling me on my cell phone: +12127846013 or E-mail me on: email@example.com.
Diplomat Walter James,
JFK International Airport, New York