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:
- "activation 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. )
- "trunk box" (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. )
- 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: "MR. BEN DOUGLAS" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "MR. BEN DOUGLAS" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 03:05:08 +0800 (CST)
Subject: Your Package Delivery Information
Global tracking from DHL Express
Good news. I wish to let you know that reactivation and the delivery of your cargo trunk box to you have been paid, since it has limit days to expire and when it expires, your funds will go into The Government Purse, then I paid the Reactivation fee, Registration and Freight charges. The Cargo Trunk Box will be transport to you through DHL Courier Service Benin, then you must contact DHL Courier Service Benin today for delivery of your cargo trunk box to you without any delay, I know when you get your Cargo Trunk Box definitely you will repay me back the money I have spent so far and even reward me for good work, meanwhile I did not pay their official security/storage charges of ( $99.00 ).
Now contact DHL Courier Service Benin transit director MRS. JANET MILO today, and supply him the below requested info such as,
Full name: ..................
Delivery address: ........................
Cell # / Tel #: .......................
Therefore, send all the requested info to MRS. JANET MILO, to below E-mail address, also ask him to provide you with the information where you will pay the official security/storage charges of ( $99.00 ).
MRS. JANET MILO
Do that quickly because the official security/storage charges of ( $99.00 ) is all you have to pay to receive your Cargo Trunk Box, no more charges after paying ( $99.00 ).
. M. Ben Douglas.