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:
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Capt Melvin Scarbo Jr" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 01:05:47 +0530
Subject: Respected Sir/Ma'am,
I am a Capt Melvin Scarbo Jr. commanding 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment with the United States and Britain Coalition Force in Afghanistan. Due the decision by our Government to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan & Iraq. I have decided to quit the Marines.
I am considering a possibility of doing business, which is why I'm reaching out to you. On the other hand I want to inform you that I have in my possession the sum of $15.2million (US Dollars) which I recovered during one of our raids on terrorists here in Afghanistan, possibly funds left by Afghan Government. I do not intend handing this money over to the Government, and I did deposit the money with a Red Cross agent informing him that we are making contact for the real owner of the money. It is under my power to approve whoever comes forth for this money.
I wish to use this money to start a new life back with my family as soon as I get off this hostile desert. I want you to help me out in this deal this only opportunity of quitting the military and having a peaceful life. Once I move this money out of here through diplomatic courier service which is the safest means. I can't fight terrorists and criminals here my entire life.
I can't wire this money to the States as troops are limited to using Army sanctioned remittance services and that will draw serious attention. I need someone I could deal with. If you accept, I will transfer the money to you, making you the beneficiary because I am a uniformed person and i cannot be parading such an amount. I have to present someone as the beneficiary. As mentioned above, I am an American and an intelligence officer as such I do have ways of transferring the money through diplomatic courier service. I just need your acceptance and all is done.
Please if you are interested in this transaction I will give to you the complete details you need for us to carry out this transaction successfully. I decided to find someone that is real and not imaginary. I believe I can trust you. Where we are now we can only communicate through our military communication facilities which are secured so nobody can monitor our discussions, then I can explain in details to you. I will only reach you through emails, because our calls might be monitored, I just have to be sure whom I am dealing with.
Also I want you to know that am revealing this deal to you with belief that you will never let me down in this business, you are the first and the only person that I am contacting for this deal, so please reply urgently so that I will inform you on the next step to take urgently. If you are interested please reply me immediately so I can contact you for further inquiries. I am writing from a fresh email account so if you are not interested do not reply to this email and please delete this message, if no response after 3 days I will then search for someone else. I am doing this on trust, you should understand and you should know that as a trained military expert I will always play safe in case you are the bad type, but I pray you are not. $15.2million is a heck lot of money; I couldn't hesitate but reveal to you the details due to the limited time frame.
I'm patiently waiting for your contact details so we would proceed as soon as possible. In less than 7 days the money should have been noted on your care and I will come over for my money. You will be rewarded with 30% of the total sum and 70% would be mine. We could both invest on your choice of business if it's profitable. I hope I am being fair on this deal? Kindly reply though this E-mail address: (email@example.com)
Capt Melvin Scarbo Jr.