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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "email@example.com" (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: NELSON COLE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2012 15:34:09 +0800 (CST)
Subject: Your ATM MASTER CARD
Your ATM MASTER CARD has been registered with FedEx Express Service! for immediate delivery. So All the necessary arrangement of delivering the ATM MASTER CARD worth sum of US$2.500.000 was made with FedEx Express Service (FEDEX). What you need is to contact them with your home and office address etc to ensure the delivery will take off today or tomorrow.
Contact them here:
ATTN: DR GODWIN MARTINS
TEL: +229 98 29 29 81
E-MAIL: ( email@example.com )
Please Send them your contacts information to able them locate you immediately they arrived in your country with your ATM MASTER CARD. This is what they need from you.
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.
Based on the charge involved for delivery, I have paid for Insurance & Delivery fees of the ATM MASTER CARD. What you have to pay them again is their Security Keeping fees of (US$45.00) which your Envelope accumulated. You have to reconfirm your home address and telephone# to them to avoid wrong delivering.
Mr. Nelson Cole