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. )
- "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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS ROSE LOPEZ" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 19:16:11 -0400
In view of your inability to receive your package Reg #: SA335493RDK originally scheduled to be delivered to you by United Parcel Service Cotonou Benin Republic.
The package in a golden metal box valued US$2,316,000USD (Two Million, Three Hundred And Sixteen Thousand United States Dollars) will be delivered to your mailing address immediately you comply with UPS Courier for the delivery. You are advised to contact Dr. Zubby Uzo, with your full contact information where you want their Courier Company to dispatch your package to.
Contact: Dr. Zubby Uzo
Tel: +229 98290607
I am hereby writing to inform you that United Parcel Service Benin Republic will need this below details from you to avoid delivery of your package to a wrong address. Below are the details they need from you,
Scan copy of your id
Please call Dr. Zubby Uzo for urgent delivery of your package. Be inform that you will send US$95.00 Ninety Five United States Dollars to them for their security keeping fees. Don't be deceive by anybody to pay any fee apart from the US$95.00 Dollars you were instructed to send to them.
The money will be sent to them immediately you contact them with the required details. Note that this notice serves as our last recovery notice to you as our department will be compelled to list your package as an unclaimed and maybe forfeited.
Mrs. Rose Lopez