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:
- 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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "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)
- "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 "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barr kelvin david" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2010 11:19:49 +0100
Subject: CONTACT FEDEX COURIER COMPANY IMMEDIATELY
How are you today ?.I'm writing to inform you that I have Paid the fee for
your Draft Cheque. Yesterday, I went to the bank to confirm if the Cheque
has expired or getting near to expire and Mr.Ahmed Zuma the Director of
B.O.A Bank of Africa told me that before the cheque will get to your hand
that it will expire. So I told him to cash the $5.950,000.00, to cash
payment to avoid losing this funds under expiration as I will be out of
the country for a 3 Months Course and I will not come back till end of
2010. What you have to do now is to contact the fedex as soon as possible
to know when they will deliver your package to you immediatey.For your
information, I have paid for the yellow tag fee and delivery Charge.
The only money you will send to the Fedex Courier to deliver your
Consignment direct to your postal Address in your country is US$115
United States Dollars only being Security Keeping Fee for
the fedex Service so far. I would have paid that but they said no because
they don't know when you will contact them and in case of dumourrage on
your Package with them.
Please write a letter of application to the given address below:
Company Name: fedex Courier
Email: ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contact Tel: +229-99857320
Finally, make sure that you reconfirm your Postal address,nearest local
and international airport, Direct telephone number contact address and
picture or id to avoid wrong delivery, they will issue you a delivery
code#, to enable you track your consignment box and know when it will get
to your address.
Let me repeat again, try to contact them as soon as you receive this mail
to avoid any further delay and remember to pay them their Security Keeping
fee of $115.00 for their immediate action to deliver urgently.
Note this. The fedex Courier don't know the contents of the Box. I
registered it as a BOX of Africa cloths. They did not know the contents
was money. this is to avoid them delaying with the BOX. Don't let them
know that box.
contains money ok.
Thanks and More Blesssing.