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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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 courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "PAUL OKAFOR" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 16:45:56 -0700
Subject: From:Central Bank of Nigeria
FROM:Dr Paul Okafor.
Central Bank of Nigeria.
Sequel to the secretive arrangement in regards of the shipment of your contract sum, I wish to inform you that all necessary modalities have been automatically concluded and have left Nigeria to London today by Express Cargo Flight.
Note carefully the content of the crate is "MONEY" but I did not disclose it to the Courier Services as Money,rather I informed them that the crate contain Vital"DIPLOMATIC DOCUMENTS" belonging to my client (that´s you). Furthermore, the weight of the consignment is 220kg but I manage to pay for 120kg, which cost US$25,600.00. On no account should you disclose the content of the crate with the Diplomatic Courier Services for fear of betrayal. So do not allow them to know that the content is money.
In the meantime,I will give you the contact of the Diplomatic Courier Services for you to contact them and know the actual situation, immediately their arrival London.Do confirm to me your below details for proper identification by the diplomateson the arrival to london to be delivered to you in your country on proper agreement between you and i.
1:Your Full name
2:Your Private Phone and Fax Number
4:A copy of your international or driver's license for identification
5:Age and occupation
Please, Advise me as soon as possible of your true position and also assure me that my share will be safe with you. Or give
me a call immediately on this Telphone Number : 234-8033669825 E-mail email@example.com
Dr Paul Okafor.