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. )
- "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 company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "certified bank draft" (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. )
- "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: "Mrs. Jessica Brown." (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 30 May 2011 02:41:11 +0700
Subject: Contact Mr. Mike Johnson For Your Bank Draft
Good Day TO You!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have been waiting for you to contact me for your confirmable $850,000 international certified bank draft but I did not hear from you for few weeks, then i went to the bank to confirm if the draft has expired or getting near to expiring date and Dr. Wilson general manager AfriBank told me that the draft will get to your before expiring date.
So I told him to keep the $850,000 international certified bank draft with FedEx security department to avoid losing these funds under expiration as i will be out of the country for 3 Months Course and I will come back till am through with my professional course.
What you have to do now is to contact FedEx Controller Mr. Mike Johnson as soon as possible to know when they will deliver your $850,000 consignment to your door.
I want you to know that i have paid for the delivering fee and insurance premium fee, the only amount require for delivery of your $850,000 international bank draft to your postal address in your country is ($190 .00 USD) only for security keeping fee.
I wish to pay for the security keeping but they did not allow me because I did not know actual dates you will contact them for them $850,000 Bank Draft. All you have do is to contact FedEx controller Mr. Mike Johnson for delivery of package to your door step.
The following information is require for delivery of Bank Draft to your home
1, Your Full Name:
2, Your Delivery Address:
3, Your Cell Phone Number:
4, Your Age:
5, Your Country:
6, Your OCUPATION:
7, Your Sex:
Directors Name: Mr. Mike Johnson
Company Name: FedEx EXPRESS COURIER COMPANY
Email Address: email@example.com
Phone: +234 803 716 5537
finally, make sure that you reconfirm your postal address and direct telephone number after contacting FedEx controller Mike Johnson for your $850,000 certified bank draft.
Once again just have it in mind that the only amount require for delivery of your $850,000 to your home address is the sum of $190 only for security keeping fee.
Mrs. Jessica Brown.