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:
- "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)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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: "Dr. Williams Smith" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2011 23:56:08 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Contact Speed Trust Express Courier For The Delivery Of Your $1,600,000.00
How are you today ?. I'm writing to inform you that I have Paid the fee for your United Nations Compensation Draft Cheque.Â Mr.Allen Thomas the Director of HSBC BANK told me that before the cheque will get to your hand that it will expire.Â So I told him to cash the ($1.6million)USD, 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 march 2011. What you have to do now is to contact the Speed Trust Express Courier Service (email@example.com) as soon as possible to know when they will deliver your Consignment package to you immediatey.For your information, I have paid for the yellow tag feeÂ and delivery Charge.
The only money you will send to the Speed Trust Express Courier to deliver your Consignment direct to your postal Address in your country is US$115 only being Security Keeping Fee for the Speed Trust Courier 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: Speed Trust Express Courier Service
Director.Â Williams E. Smith
Email:Â Â Â Â firstname.lastname@example.org
ContactÂ Tel: +229-98270398
Finally, make sure that you reconfirm your Postal address, nearest local and international airport.
1. YOUR FULL NAMEâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
2. YOUR HOME ADDRESSâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
3. YOUR CURRENT HOME TELEPHONE NUMBERâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
4. YOUR CURRENT OFFICE TELEPHONEâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
5. A COPY OF YOUR PICTUREâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
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 Speed Trust Express Courier don't know the contents of the Box Package. 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.Â Don't let them know that box contains money ok.
We are sorry for the past inconvieneces.
Dr. Williams Smith