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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "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)
- "diplomatic courier" ("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)
- "courier service" (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 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 (Rediffmail, India; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: office commission <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2010 08:23:49 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: DIPLOMATIC CASH DELIVERY PAYMENT
PAYMASTER GENERAL C.B.N
DIPLOMATIC CASH DELIVERY
Owing to the rising rate of
internet scams and other fraudulent activities by hoodlums poising as government
and bank Agencies/personnel.
The board of Directors of the
central bank Nigeria (CBN) under government instruction in agreement with the
United Nations,World Bank and IMF have concluded to pay all outstanding
beneficiaries by cash via diplomatic means.I am therefore delighted to contact
you and inform you in my capacity of this plans.
We are going to send you US$15.2
Million as part payment of your contract Inheritance fund by cash via diplomatic
courier service with every needed document to cover you as the rightful
beneficiary of the fund.
Note: The money is coming in
two(2) security proof boxes,The boxes shall be sealed with synthetic nylon seal
and padded with machine,the currency operations director has been instructed to
this effect from the Presidency,as the paymaster general,I will use my position
to facilitate the immediate release of this fund to you since the Presidency
have approved of it.
following from our security
The boxes are coming with a
diplomatic agent who will accompany the boxes to your house address for safe
All you need to do now is to send
to me immediately:
1.Your full house address/personal
2.Your identity such as,
international passport or driver's license#
3.Your contact telephone
I will use the above information
to process relevant documents in your name that will cover you as a bona fide
beneficiary and genuine contractor indebted to by our government.
I will update you with further
details of the delivery upon your reply, and Note Importantly that:you have
nothing to fear or loose as the transaction is legitimate and risk free because
the diplomatic agent that will carry the boxes to you will not know the true
contents of the boxes for security reasons.And both the keys of the boxes and
the documents will be sent to you before the Airlifting of the
Call me immediately you receive
this message if you are interested and ready to execute this transaction with
Paymaster General C.B.N
E-Mail is confidential and intended only for the use of the above recipient and
contains information that is privileged. If you are not interested,please notify
me and discard the message as you are notified that any
dissemination,distribution or copying of this E-Mail is strictly