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:
- "mtcn" (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. )
- "00,000.00" (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 company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. James R. Anthony" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 17 Sep 2011 09:35:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: ATTN: Payment Notification
ATTN: Payment Notification! This is to bring your notice that I have paid the courier charges and the delivery of your ATM MASTER CARD, I paid it because the ATM MASTER CARD worth $2.500,000.00 Us Dollars has less three weeks and four days to expire and when it expires the money will go into Government reserve So that I decided to help you pay the money so that the ATM MASTER CARD will not expire, because I know when you get your ATM MASTER CARD definitely you must compensate me.
Now your ATM MASTER CARD has been deposited with Diplomatic Courier Company for delivery so i want you to contact Diplomatic Company with your Full Contact information so that they can deliver your ATM MASTER CARD to your designated address without any delay Like i stated earlier, The delivery charges has been paid but i did not pay their official keeping fees since they refused. The Reasons why they refuse is because they do not know when you are going to contact them. They told me that their keeping fee is $28.00 per day and i deposited it since Friday this Week.
Below is their Contact In formations,
Contact Person: Mr. Chris Ubah
Phone Number; +229-9846-5813
Contact them today to avoid increase of their keeping fees and let me know once you receive your ATM MASTER CARD, The addition fees was calculated $56.00 today, and note that fail to do so today another $28.00 will be adding by tomorrow and bear it in mind that the addition $28.00 must be continuously adding every blessed day.
Here is the information you can use send the $56.00 today and remember that it will be $84.00 by tomorrow okay.
Here is the information where to send the fee today.
Receiver...Name: Nkechikwulu Rapheal
Text Question...When ?
Waiting to hear from you as soon as you received this mail,
Mr. James R. Anthony