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. )
- "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 service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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 "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr Susan S. Bies" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 11:36:21 +0200
Subject: Re : LETTER TO YOU FROM HSBC BANK
The UNITED NATIONS IN Affiliation with ALL BANK has agreed to compensate you with the sum of US$7,950,000.00, for self support. This is regarding the draws he organized before he left the office to help individuals to own a self charity organization also for youre to build your Personal Company/organization so as to help the less privileged children.
This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their contract, inheritance sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems and the World financial Crisis etc. We found your name in the list of those who are to benefit from these compensation exercises and that are why we are contacting you.
I'm obliged to inform you that I have Paid the fee for the Compensation award Bank Draft Cheque, for self support, The largest U.S. bank announced the appointments of Susan S. Bies, a former Federal Reserve System governor and former chief financial officer of First Tennessee National; William P. Boardman retired executive of Bank and chief executive, Charles O. Holliday Jr. of Bank of America told me that before the cheque will get to your hand that it will expire. So I told him to cash the $7.950, 000.00, to cash payment to avoid losing this fund under expiration as I will be out of the country for a 3 Months Course and I will not come back earlier 2012. What you have to do now is to contact the (Sky World Courier Express) at (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible to know wh
The only money you will send to the SMS Courier to deliver your Consignment Package direct to your postal Address in your country is US$155 only being Security Keeping Fee for the SMS Courier Service so far. I would have paid that but they said no because they don't know when you will contact them and in case of demurrage on your Package with them.
Please write a letter of application to the given address below:
Company Name: Sky World Courier Express
Manager. Donald E. Powell
Contact Tel: +(229) 68257233, 64720953
Finally, make sure that you reconfirm your Postal address E.G
Your Full name:...................
Your Passport or Driver's licence:...........
nearest local and international airport:...........
to avoid wrong delivery, they will issue you a delivery code#, to enable you track your consignment box and know when it
will get to your address.
Let me repeat again, try to contact them as soon as you receive this mail to avoid any further delay and remember to pay them their Security Keeping fee of $155.00 for their immediate action to deliver urgently. Note this. The SMS Courier doesnt know the contents of the Box Package. I registered it as a BOX of Africa cloths. They did not know the contents were money. This is to avoid them delaying with the BOX. Don't let them know that box contains money ok.
We are sorry for the past inconveniences
Dr Susan S. Bies
WELLCOME TO WORLDWIDE BANK