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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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)
- "courier service" (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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Van Hugo" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2012 04:36:46 +0600 (BDT)
Subject: Contact UPS Now, Your ATM Card Is Awaiting Delivery!
I want to thank you for helping me out with my transaction which went
successfully through the help of another partner and I am now investing my
own share of the fund. I was meant to understand that you have not
received your compensation as of yet due to some certain circumstances.
Having reviewed all the obstacles and problems surrounding the transfer of
your compensation payment of US$2,500,000.00 and your inability to meet up
with some charges levied against you due to the past transfer options, I
have concluded an arrangement with the Board of Directors of Bank Of
Africa (BOA) to issue you an ATM CARD where your payment will be uploaded
and mailed to you through courier service.
I was just notified by the board of directors of BOA that your
compensation Payment has now been uploaded into this CORPORATE VISA CARD
and also registered with UPS courier for delivery to you. For your
information, The delivery charges has been paid and your package is
supposed to have been shipped to you but they insisted that you must
re-confirm to them your current delivery address to ensure accurate
MOST IMPORTANT: Due to the content of the package, UPS mandated that
before your package will be shipped, Customs Duty Tag must be procured
according to the New Customs working policy, the essence of such Document
is to ensure a hitch-free delivery and the amount for this Customs Duty
Tag is only US$255.99.
Therefore reconfirm your current delivery address (i.e 1. Full Names, 2.
Delivery Address and 3. Telephone Number) to UPS courier in the name of:
BP485, 3 Rue du Gouverneur Fourn
Tel: +229 9923 8528
Contact UPS immediately and re-confirm your current delivery address and
phone numbers as requested to enable them deliver the package to you once
you have sent them the fee for the Customs Duty Tag.
NOTE: Don't reply to this e-mail directly as I will not be checking my
messages for the next few months due to my busy schedules, contact Mr.
Mark Trevor(Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: +229 9923 8528)
Mr. Van Hugo
This message has been scanned for viruses and
dangerous content by MailScanner, and is
believed to be clean.