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. )
- "consignment " (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. )
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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: "HSBC BANK®" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2012 10:31:09 -0400
Subject: HSBC BANK PACKAGE $5.950M
HSBC BANK INCONJUCTION WITH UNITED NATIONS. www.un.org.bj Good Day.TheUNITED NATIONS IN Affiliation with HSBC BANK have agreed to compensate you with the sum of US$5,950,000.00, for self support.This is regarding the draws he organized before he left the office to help individuals to own a self charity organization also for your to build your Personal Company/organization so as to help the less privileged children. This includeseveryforeign contractors that may have not received their contract, inheritance sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems and the World financial Crisis etc. We found your name in the list of those who are to benefit from these compensation exercise and that is why we are contacting you. I'mobliged to inform you that I have Paid the fee for the Compensation award Bank Draft Cheque, for self support, Mr.Allen Thomas the Directorof HSBC BANK told me that before the cheque will get to your hand that it will expire. So I told him to cash the $5.950,000.00, to cash paymentto avoid losing this funds under expiration as I will be out of the country for a 3 Months Course and I will not come back ealier 2012. Whatyou have to do now is to contact the TNT Express Courier (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible to know when they will deliver your Consignment package to you immediatey.For your information, I have paid for thé delivery Charge. Theonly money you will send to the TNT Courier to deliver your ConsignmentPackage direct to your postal Address in your country is US$115 only beingSecurity Keeping Fee for the TNT Courier Service so far. I would have paid that but they said no because they don't know when you will contact them and in case of dumourrage on your Package with them. Please write a letter of application to the given address below: Company Name: TNT EXPRESS COURIER Manager. kessier Febian Email: email@example.com Contact Tel: +229-9985-7320000Finally,make sure that you reconfirm your Postal address....,nearest local and international airport..., Direct telephone number..... contact address.... and Your Passport or Driver's licence....to avoid wrong delivery, they will issue you a delivery code#, to enable you track your consignment box and know when it will get to your address. Let me repeat again, try to contact them as soon as you receive this mail to avoidanyfurther delay and remember to pay them their Security Keeping fee of $115.00 for their immediate action to deliver urgently. Note this. The TNT Courier don't know the contents of the Box Package. I registered it as a BOX of Africa cloths. They did not know the contents was money. this is to avoid them delaying with the BOX. Don't let them know that box contains money ok. We are sorry for the past inconvieneces Regards, Dr Ms Anita Carlos HSBC BANK CC DEPT www.un.org.bj