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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "demurrage " (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. )
- "the 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)
- "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)
- "confidential business" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "JOHN CLARKE" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2011 03:34:05 -0000
Subject: From Mr. John Clarke ( Am hoping to hear from you soonest
Hello Sir/ Madam
It is my warmest pleasure in drawing your attention to this confidential business proposal. Despite the fact that we have not met or done anything before, I want to assure you that this business will definitely benefit both of us. So I pray that you give this proposal some consideration. My name is John Amane Clarke, the managing director of Diamond Security And Storage Company Ghana, one of the biggest and best in Africa, where most African leaders and prominent men deposit their valuables such as money, diamond, gold etc.
I have been with this company for the past 10 years now so I am conversant with everything that goes on in it. Presently, there are some consignments deposited by some people for the past 8 years with nobody coming for them or paying for their demurrage charges. I carried out a private investigation and found out that some of them are dead and there are no traces of any member of their families. To me this is an opportunity to make money and this is where you come in; you will present yourself as the beneficiary of one Mark Zumba, who owns 2 of such consignments. If you agree to do this business with me all the relevant documents will be prepared in your name for the consignment to be transferred to your country and I shall come over to meet with you so we can then share the valuables in the boxes.
The worth of the contents inside each of these box is $ 8.5million, I have arranged with a diplomatic courier that will deliver them at any designated place of your choice. I shall give you 30% of the deal if you indicate interest. I am assuring you that you shall not be subjected to any form of risk, if you indicate interest to go into partnership with me; I hope to further strengthen my business relationship with you after the execution of this one.
Despite the fact that we have not done business before, I strongly believe that for the sake of God Almighty, you will exhibit a trust worthy character when you receive these consignments boxes in your country.
Please note that your ability to keep this transaction confidential is very important for the sake of betrayal and reputation of my job
Hoping to hear from you soonest.
Mr. John A. Clarke