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)
- "million dollars" (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)
- "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.
- 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 (Outblaze.com, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Total Petroleum PLC." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:59:19 +0200
Subject: Attention Please!!!
Good Day, I hereby wish to inform you that we the management and staff
of Total Multi-National Oil Company have compensated you during our
yearly award night.
However, I have tried several times to e-mail you but it fails, now
let me clarify you most about this subject matter that your award Bank
Cashier Check worth $3.7million dollars was supposed to be sent to you
via speed post but the bankers advised that it will get expired upon
I need you to reconfirm your personal info which has to be sent to the
Dhl management to allow them verify it through their computer system
before contacting you later in the day.
However I have to make another solid arrangement to have your funds
uploaded via ATM VISA ELECTRON CARD then registered it with the DHL
Service here in Benin Republic. I will soon be on annual leave which
will last several weeks.
I have secured the insurance fees and duty stamp fees, The only money
you have to send to them is their SECURITY FEES which will allow you
to receive your package as I do not know when you will be contacting
them with this address: Person: Rev. Onwuegbu Jiaji
(email@example.com) OR Company E-mail
(firstname.lastname@example.org) Tel/Fax: +22964460437.
Therefore reconfirm to the DHL your personal information for
verification and to enable them locate you immediately when they
arrived in your country home door step for the said delivery.
Note; This is the code which you send to them for verification
(DH011). Also do let me know as soon as you received your package
I expect you to adhere according to their instructions to enable them
complete your shipment at the earliest time possible because time is
no longer our friend in this case. I shall scan the photocopy of your
cashier check for your perusal understanding.
Kindly let me learn more news as you progress with the courier
management, also let me know if there is any question because it will
allow me to clarify you more on the subject.
Thanking you in advance for your comprehension and anticipated cooperation.
May God Bless you and have a pleasant time with your family.
Always at your humble service.
Mrs Sandra Anne Ibeh
Total Petroleum PLC.