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:
- "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. )
- "stamp duty" (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. )
- "courier company" (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Hotmail, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Stephen Nathanel" <PHOENIX_9702@YAHOO.COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2012 09:10:29 -0500
Subject: YOUR PACKAGE WITH THE SPEED TRUST COURIER COMPANY.
I have been waiting for you since to come down here and pick your Bank Draft
of $850,000.00 only but did not heard from you since that time ,then I went
and deposited the Draft with SPEED TRUST COURIER Company here in Benin
Republic, because I travelled to Paraguay to see my boss and will not come
back till next month end. You have to contact the SPEED TRUST COURIER COMPANY
to know when they will deliver your package .I have paid for the delivering
charges and insurance fee.
The only money you have to send to them is there coverage papers fee and the
official stamp duty fee to received your package,I would have paid that but
they said no because they don't know when you will contact them and in case of
demurrage,So all you have to do is to Contact the Director SPEED TRUST COURIER
COMPANY Benin Republic.
CONTACT PERSON: DR NELSON UDO.
Phone Number: +229-99481902)
Try to contact them as soon as possible to avoid increasing the security
keeping fee. I gave them your delivering address but you have to reconfirm it
to them as below:
Your Full Name----------------
Your draft registration number ---------EM 9907439Send this to them to avoid any
mistake in the delivering.
Let me know as soon as you receive
your Draft from the company.
Mr Stephen Nathanel