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:
- "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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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 fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
Fraud email example:
From: "DAVID MARK" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2010 10:32:08 +0300
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
We are hereby obliged to inform you that your parcel has been with us for weeks now, We
got over 20 set of packages from the United Kingdom We took time to write out the email
addresses on the label Of each parcel and yours was included This is to inform you that
we are in possession of your Paarcel (which include a certified cheque worth of
$800,000.00 USD and other vital documents) that we facilitate the clearance of the
cheque in your country, which is to be couriered to you. It is the usual practice of our
organization to conduct a proper verification of all PaCkages that we are to delivered,
to ensure that they are valid. Be rest assured that your cheque has been confirmed valid
and true and delivery will be made once you have meet the necessary
requirements. The package is registered with us for mailing by the Online Lottery Award
Promo Board as claimed,in England, United Kingdom.
We are sending you this email because your package has been registered on a Special Order.
What you have to do now, is to contact our Delivery Department for immediate
dispatchment of your package to your residencial address.
Note that as soon as our Delivery Team confirms your informations, it will take only one
working day (24 hours for your package to arrive it designated destination. 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 FedEx company as stated in our privacy terms & condition page, in order to
secured your Package.
The cost for the Security Keeping fee is $286 USD.
This is mandatory, kindly complete the below
form to reconfirm your Postal
Await your Swift Response.
(The Dispatched Officer).
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