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:
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: MR JOHN WILLIAMS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: MR JOHN WILLIAMS <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2014 09:51:20 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: COMPENSATIONAL SETTLEMENT
Â Attention Owner Of Atm Card,
I have registered your 2014 Outstanding Compensation Payment ATM CARD of ( $1.2Million USD ) from the United Nations & Ecowas Human Settlements Programme with DHL Express Courier Company with registration code of ( Shipment Code awb 33xzs ).
Please Contact with your delivery information such as;
Your FULL Name::::::::::::::::::
Your Address Where To Delivery The Card ( P.O.BOX NOT ACCEPTABLE ) :::::::::::::::
Your DIRECT Telephone Number::::::
Name of director: Mr Harrison Morris.
I have paid for the Insurance & Delivery fee.The only fee you have to pay is their Security fee only.
Please indicate the registration Number and ask Him how much is their Security fee so that you can pay it.