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:
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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.
- email@example.com (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "ROBERT S. MUELLER, III" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2011 11:54:25 -0400
Subject: Attn: Beneficiary,
Compliments of the day, I Wish to inform you that your Payment has been released and you will need to contact the payment
Officer Mr. John Perry with the information's as stated below. CONTACT INFORMATION NAME: Mr. John Perry EMAIL:
(email@example.com) Do contact Mr. John Perry of the ATM PAYMENT CENTER with your details: FULL NAME: HOME
ADDRESS: TELL: CELL: CURRENT OCCUPATION: BANK NAME: AGE: Also please be informed that all necessary Documents has been put in
place all you will have to do is to make sure you can be able to afford 150 USD for the Delivery of your Funds which is to be
sent to you via an ATM SWIFT CARD using DHL International Courier Service. we do await your response so we can move on with
our Investigation and make sure your ATM SWIFT CARD gets to you. Thanks and hope to read from you soon.
CALL HIM WITH THIS NUMBER +234-807-534-8205
ROBERT S. MUELLER, III
DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535