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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "the diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "AGENT WILLIAMS" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2014 12:58:09 +0100
Subject: URGENT ATTENTION FROM AGENT JAMES WILLIAMS [FBI]
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Intelligence Field Unit J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C.
URGENT ATTENTION BENEFICIARY
WE SINCERELY APOLOGIZED FOR SENDING YOU THIS SENSITIVE INFORMATION VIA E-MAIL INSTEAD OF A CERTIFIED MAIL, POST-MAIL, PHONE OR FACE TO FACE CONVERSATION, IT IS DUE TO THE URGENCY AND IMPORTANCE OF THE SECURITY INFORMATION OF OUR CITIZENRY, I AM SPECIAL AGENT JAMES WILLIAMS FROM THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) INTELLIGENCE UNIT, WE HAVE JUST INTERCEPTED AND CONFISCATED TWO (2) TRUNK BOX AT JFK AIRPORT IN NEW YORK, AND ARE ON THE VERGE OF MOVING IT TO OUR BUREAU HEAD QUARTERS.
WE SCANNED THE SAID BOX, AND FOUND IT CONTAINS TOTAL SUM OF $4.1 MILLION AND ALSO BACKUP DOCUMENT WHICH BEARS YOUR NAME AS THE RECEIVER OF THE MONEY CONTAINED IN THE BOX, INVESTIGATIONS CARRIED OUT ON THE DIPLOMAT WHICH ACCOMPANIED THE BOX INTO UNITED STATES SAID HE WAS TO DELIVER THIS FUNDS TO YOUR RESIDENCE AS PAYMENT DUE YOU FROM THE OFFICE OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA AS UNPAID BENEFICIARY.
WE CROSS-CHECKED ALL LEGAL DOCUMENTATION IN THE BOX, AND WERE ABOUT TO RELEASE THE CONSIGNMENT TO THE DIPLOMAT WHEN WE FOUND OUT THAT THE BOX WAS LACKING ONE VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENT WHICH MAKES US CONFISCATE THE BOX.
ACCORDING TO SECTION 229 SUBSECTION 31 OF THE 1991 CONSTITUTION IN MONEY LAUNDERING, YOUR CONSIGNMENT LACKS PROOF OF OWNERSHIP CERTIFICATE FROM THE JOINT TEAM OF THE IRS AND HOMELAND SECURITY, REPLY FOR DIRECTION ON HOW TO PROCURE THIS CERTIFICATE WHICH WILL ENABLE YOU RELIEVED OF THE CHARGES OF MONEY LAUNDERING WHICH IS A PUNISHABLE OFFENSE UNDER SECTION 12 SUBSECTION 441 OF CONSTITUTION ON MONEY LAUNDERING.
YOU ARE REQUIRED TO REPLY THIS LETTER WITHIN 72HOURS, OR YOU WILL BE ARRESTED, INTERROGATED AND PROSECUTED IN THE COURT OF LAW FOR MONEY LAUNDERING.
ALSO, YOU MUST NOT CONTACT ANY OTHER BANK OR PERSON IN NIGERIA OR UNITED KINGDOM OR ANY PART OF THE WORLD FOR ANY PAYMENT, BECAUSE YOUR PAYMENT HAVE BEEN CONFISCATED BY THIS BUREAU HERE IN THE UNITED STATES..
YOURS IN SERVICE
AGENT JAMES WILLIAMS