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:
- "application 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. )
- "money order " (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 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "GNB Marketing Company INT'L." (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2011 19:42:47 +0100
Subject: Your Assistance Is Highly Needed.
MAKE MONEY BY SIMPLY DRIVING YOUR CAR/ MOTORBIKE.
EARN NO LESS THAN $400 WEEKLY TO ADVERTISE ON YOUR CAR/MOTORBIKE.
It is Very Easy and Simple
No Application fees required How it works.
Here's the basic premise of the "paid to drive your car"
CONCEPT: We seek people -- regular citizens, not professional drivers -- to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with an advert Of any of the companies We are
advertising their product pasted on any part of your car.
These ads are typically vinyl decals, also known as "auto wraps," that almost seems to be
painted on the vehicle, and which will cover any choice of your car's exterior surface.
What does the company get out of this type of advert strategy? Lots of exposure and
awareness. The auto wraps tend to be colorful and eye-catching and attract lots of
attention. Plus, it's a form of advertising with a captive audience, meaning people who are
stuck in traffic and can't avoid seeing the wrapped car alongside them.This program will
last for 5 months and the minimum period you can participate is 1 month.
You will be compensated with a sum of $400 ( Four hundred dollars per Week),which is
essentially a "rental" payment for letting our company use the space.We shall provide
experts that would handle the advert placement on your car. You will receive an upfront
payment of $400 ( Four hundred dollars) in form of a Money Order for accepting to carry this
advert on your car and other weekly payments will also come in the form of Money Order and
delivered at your address weekly.
Send the required below Information to : email@example.com
Make of car/ year:
Phone Number(s) mobile/home :
We shall be contacting you as soon as we receive these information. We look forward to
working with you as soon as possible.
Customer Service Supervisor
GNB Marketing Company INT'L.