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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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 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 STACY MORGAN ESQ" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 02:36:27 +0300
Subject: FROM MRS.STACY MORGAN ESQ !!!!
Attn: Dear Friend,
I have waited enough to send your cheque bank draft $4.8m united state US dollars for your compensation but I did not hear from you since and the time the bank draft will be expired is getting near, I finally arranged with the bank manger of BANK P.H.B PLC Mr.Nduka Ndefo and he has coveted the bank draft into cash payment and package it in a diplomatic box the arrangement has been finalized with UNIVERSAL EXPRESS DELIVERY COURIER COMPANY THE RELIABLE DELIVERY SYSTEM to send the package through diplomatic courier service I have contacted them and they told me that you should forward all this information below to them.
Please carefully Reconfirm your full house address, your private Mobile phone number and send it to them to avoid wrong delivery of your consignment to your doorstep.
YOURE HOUSE ADDRESS...............
NEAREST AIR PORT...................................
PROOF OF IDENTIFICATION: (PASSPORT OR DRIVES'
Also remember that they did not know the content of the box I registered it as an Africa cloths. They don't know that it contents money. This is to avoid them delaying with the delivery of the box to you .I don't want you to let them know that the content of the box is money. JUST FEEL FREE AND CONTACT THEM WITH THIS EMAIL: (email@example.com)
Note: That you have to pay them for Security Keeping Fee which is $105, only.
BATCH NO AX277
SHIPMENT CODE 33XZS
THE AIRWAY BILL NUMBER.GX843KR
CONSIGNMENT REGISTERED CODES NO XGT476.
SECURITY CODES NO SCT/2071DHX0
CONTACT PERSON /MR. YOUNG WHITE.
ADDRESS NO4/7 WHITE HOUSE BUILDING 7TH FLOOR LAGOS NIGERIA.
TELEPHONE NUMBER. +234-802-841-5881
MRS.STACY MORGAN ESQ,