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:
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "certified bank draft" (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.
- 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 (Sify; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Kenneth Butterfield." (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2010 18:46:18 +0100
Subject: CALL US FOR YOUR PACKAGE DELIVERY WITH FEDEX.
Am Mr. Kenneth Butterfield, of FedEx Courier Services Company mailing you in respect of your Package (CERTIFIED BANK DRAFT) which after careful scrutiny contains the sum of $1.800, 000.00 (One Million Eight Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) been a compensation fund that the Federal Ministry of Finance and Revenue's Board brought to deliver to you.
Note: You have to make your full information available to our regional dispatch Agent Mr. David N. Scandrett. Before they can give more detail and dispatch the Package to your address. MEANWHILE YOU HAVE TO CALL ME ON MY PHONE NUMBER: +234- 703-498-3709. I AWAIT YOUR PHONE CALL ON RECEIPT OF THIS EMAIL.
Send the following details:
1. FULL NAMES.
2. DELIVERY ADDRESS.
3. PHONE NUMBERS.
The above information should be sent to:
Name: David N. Scandrett.
Status: Regional Dispatch Agent.
Email Address: (email@example.com)
Phone Number: +234- 703-498-3709.
Mr. Kenneth Butterfield.
FedEx Courier Services