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:
- 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:
- "stamp duty" (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. )
- "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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Frank Brown" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2011 05:41:04 -0800 (PST)
Subject: YOUR ATM CARD HAS REGISTERED WITH DHL COMPANY
Having review all the obstacles and problems surrounding the transfer of your ($2.7 Million) Two Million Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars ) and your inability to meet up with some charges levied against you due to the past transfer options, We the Board of Directors, Bank Of Africa (BOA) has ordered our Foreign Payment Remittance Unit to issue you a CORPORATE VISA CARD where your payment will be uploaded and today,
we got notice that your Payment has been uploaded into this CORPORATE VISA CARD and also have registered it with DHL Courier Service.For your information, The delivery charges has been paid and they supposed to have shipped your packaged ATM CARD but they insisted that you must re-confirm to them your current delivery address to ensure accurate Delivery.
MOST IMPORTANT: Due to the content of the package, DHL mandated that before your package will be shipped, A Tax/Stamp Duty MUST be procured according to the New Customs Creed and the essence of such Document is to ensure a hitch-free delivery and the amount is $325usd Therefore reconfirm your current delivery address.
1. Your full name:
2. Your postal address with zip code:
3. Your house phone:
4. Your cellphone:
5. Attach a copy of any of your identification:
DHL International Benin
Lot No. 23 Patte D'Oie
03 BP 2147.Cotonou
Please hurry now as your package might incurr dumourages if it stays more than 3days with DHL.