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:
- "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. )
- "you are required to pay " (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. )
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Edwin Okay" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2011 16:47:16 +0900 (KST)
Subject: Hello Dear Beneficiary,
Federal Ministry Of Finance
Payment Reconciliation Panel
Via Office Of The Presidency
Hello Dear Beneficiary,
This is to officially inform you that your Bank Draft worth of $2.5million usd has been credited in ATM MASTER CARD by the issuing Bank as ordered by this Ministry, Federal Ministry Of Finance, Payment Reconciliation Panel, office of the Presidency Benin Republic. Be informed that you can not withdraw more than $6,500 per day this is what the Banking Instructions Stated.
You will see the rest details when you receive the CARD,I have personally registered your ATM MASTER CARD worth of $2.5.million usd with (TNT)SECURITY COURIER COMPANY for delivery therefore, Kindly reconfirm your contact information as follows to the Delivery COMPANY;
Your full Name::::::::
Contact person Dr. Joseph Mbaka Shipment Officer,(TNT) Security Courier Benin
NB;I have paid for the delivering and insurance charges for the delivery of the package, the only money you are required to pay is the security keeping fee US$75.00 and I registered it on 7th of april 2011,
so the only money you will pay them is their security keeping fee. and I want you to do fast and contact them today to avoid the increase of their keeping fee. And let me know once you receive your ATM MASTER CARD,
Mr. Edwin Okay
Federal Ministry Of Filic