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)
- "security keeping 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. )
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier company" (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Jimmy Arthur <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Jimmy Arthur <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2014 12:06:42 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CONTACT DHL FOR YOUR DELIVERY/////////
Â CONTACT DHL FOR YOUR DELIVERY/////////
Respect of your support and hardworking in this organisation the board of
excutives in their last meeting has decided to reward twelve members
effort with the sum of USD $4,5.000.00 Four Million Five Hundred thousand
united state dollars only each,right now YOUR FUND has been deposited at the D.h.l COURIER COMPANY here
in benin republic
1.CONTACT PERSON......MR HARRY MUSA
3.DIRECTOR-----Phone ( +229 99-35-65-70 )
my dear accept the security keeping fee of $25.00 per day all other money
and document regarding the delivering of your box has been handed over to
the company contact them with this infomations so that your fund will be
deliver to your address please make sure you did not disclose the content
of the box to them because we register the box asÂ church evangelism tracks
1..Your full name.............................
2..Your delivery address...............................
3.Your Home phone number...........................................
4. Your Mobile phone number.........................................
make sure your information is correct and always remember to address the
box as church evangelism tracks.
Secretary Jimmy Arthur.