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. )
- "processing 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)
- "cheques " (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 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 (Rocketmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "FEDEX ONLINE DELIVERY TEAM" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2011 02:16:46 +0100
Subject: CONTACT FEDEX COURIER
We have been waiting for you to contact us for your Confirmed Package that is registered with us for shipping to your residential location. We thought that the sender gave you our contact details and that you would have contacted us by now. we would also let you know that a letter is also attached to your package. However, we cannot quote its content to you via E-mail for privacy reasons. We understand that the content of your package itself is a Bank Draft worth $800,000.00 USD,in FedEx we do not ship money in CASH or in CHEQUES but in Bank Drafts only. The package is registered with us for mailing by your colleague, and your colleague explained that he is from the United States but he is in Nigeria for a three (3) month surveying Project. for he is working with a consulting firm in Nigeria West Africa.
We are sending you this E-mail because your package is been registered on a Special Order. What you have to do now, is to contact our Delivery Department for the immediate dispatch of your package to your residential address. Note that as soon as our Delivery Team confirms your information, it will only take us one working day (24 hours) for your package to arrive at its designated destination. For your information, the VAT & Shipping charges as well as processing fees have been paid by your colleague before your package was registered.
We are sending you this E-mail because your package is been registered on a Special Order. What you have to do now. This will help you avoid any form of query from the Monetary Authority of your country. However, you will have to pay a sum of $95US Dollars to the FedEx Delivery Department for the Security Keeping Fee of the FedEx company as stated in our privacy terms & condition page. Also be informed that your colleague wished to pay for the Security Keeping charges, but we do not accept such payments considering the facts that all items & packages registered with us has a time limitation and we cannot accept payment not knowing when you will be picking up the package or even respond to us. So we cannot take the risk to have accepted such payment encase of any possible demurrage.
Kindly note that your colleague did not leave us with any further information. We hope that you send your response to us as soon as possible because if you fail to respond until the expiry date of the foremost package, we may refer the package to the British Commission for Welfare as the package those not have a return address..
You are required to contact the delivery department (FedEx Delivery Post) with the details given below:
FedEx Delivery Post
Contact FedEx Delivery Email: (email@example.com)
Dr Robert Williams.
Kindly complete the below form and send it to the email address given above.
This is mandatory to reconfirm your Postal address and telephone numbers.
Kindly complete the above form and submit it to the delivery management on: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As soon as your details are received, our delivery team will give you the necessary payment procedure so that you can affect the payment for the Security Keeping Fees. As soon as they confirm your payment receipt of $95 US Dollars. They will not hesitate to dispatch your package as well as the attached letter to your residence. which usually takes 24 hours being an overnight delivery service.
Note: that we were not instructed to email you, but due to the high priority of your package we had to inform you as your sender did not leave us with his phone number because he stated that he just arrived Nigeria and he has not gotten a phone yet. We personally sealed your Bank Draft and we found your email contact in the attached letter as the recipient of the foremost package. Ensure to contact the delivery department with the email address given above and ensure to fill the above form as well to enable a successful reconfirmation.
Mr James Wellington.
FedEx Online Team Management.
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