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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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 (Superposta; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: FBI Office <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2012 19:36:27 +0800 (CST)
Subject: ATM CARD OF $1.5MILLIONUSD
This message is coming to you from FBI office
here, We are writing this mail to inform you that your (Inheritance winning
awarded funds of $1.5million) has been totally converted into a ATM Master card
and it's to be delivered to your address via courier service, Be inform that the
courier delivery company will deliver the card with all the manual and
instruction both with PIN code to access the Card upon receipt. It's the best
option to receive this amount since every attempt failed, therefore you will
need to contact the Barrister that helped in re-claiming the check back and
converted it into an ATM visa card with his address below:
Barrister Necter Polimars
Phone: +229 98651731
Send him your current address where the Card
should be delivered to and remember to indicate the Reg:code of ATM-0034 to him
when making contact with him. Please also choose the courier service you would
like to deliver the Card Post office is also working but could take the card
much time to get to you.
Please endeavor to inform us once you have
received the ATM Card.
FBI Monitoring Team