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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "trunk box" (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 delivery" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mohammed Abacha" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 2010 07:15:17 -0400
Subject: My Family's Estate
From: Mohammed Abacha
In a drive to ensure the safety of family Funds for safe keeping and investment,
I wish to inform you that all necessary modalities have been concluded and the
funds have left to Europe last week by Express Cargo Flight (Diplomatic Delivery
Agency). Note carefully the content of the crates is money \"U.S Dollar $14
Million Cash\" but I did not disclose it to the Courier Services as Money,
rather I informed them that the crates contains Vital \"DOCUMENTS AND EXPENSIVE
AFRICA ART WORK\" belonging to a family friend and also business partner (that's
On no account should you disclose the content of the crate (Two Trunk Box) with
the Diplomatic Courier Services for fear of betrayal. So do not allow them to
know that the content is money you have to bear in mind my family's situation.
Please note that the deposit papers are ready and will be forwarded in due
Please send me your contact address and also full name and phone number
immediately through my email address.