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:
- 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:
- "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. )
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "NELSON COLE" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2012 00:34:16 +0300 (EEST)
Subject: Delivery Notification!
I have registered your ATM MASTER CARD of (US$850.000.00) with UNITED
POSTAL SERVICE for 48hours Delivery. I packaged the ATM CARD in a
portable box as Gift & register it with UNITED POSTAL SERVICE BENIN
REPUBLIC to ensure the delivery is complete within 48hours as we agreed.
What you have to do is to contact them with the given information below
and reconfirm your home and office address to them.
Attn: Dr. Godwin Martins.
UNITED POSTAL SERVICE
Benin Republic West Africa States,
Tel: +229-9829 2981
Reconfirm below information to them:
1.YOUR FULL NAME.
2.YOUR HOME ADDRESS.
4.YOUR CURRENT HOME TELEPHONE NUMBER.
5.YOUR CURRENT OFFICE TELEPHONE.
6.A COPY OF YOUR PICTURE.
I have paid all the fees involved for the Delivery except their Security
Keeping Fee of (US$45.00) which you have to pay them as beneficiary of the
Box and as soon as you pay them the Security Fee your Delivery will take
off and arrive to your home or Office within 48hours. Please indicate the
registration Number of (8947) to them when contacting or calling them.
Mr. Nelson Coleman