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:
- "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)
- "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)
- "a 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.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Oliver Edwards"<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 14:20:50 +0700
Subject: Unclaimed Package
I am Oliver Edwards, head officer Storage unit at Hartsfield-Jackson
international Airport Atlanta Georgia. I have contacted you concerning
an abandoned consignment box which I discovered in our storage house and
the x-ray scan report box revealed some US dollar bill in it which could
be approximately two million dollars. The baggage was abandoned by a
diplomat from London who was on transit to your city due to his
inability to pay the diplomatic baggage non-inspection fee of two
thousand and nine hundred dollars and the official paper of the baggage
indicates your name, your address and your email address.
For me to confirm you as the recipient, you are to email me your full
names,your full address, your telephone number and the nearest airport
close to you to cross-check if it corresponds with the details on the
official document. All communication must be held extremely confidential
because I have taken it upon myself to contact you personally about this
abandoned baggage so that we can transact it as a deal since it has not
yet been returned to the United States Treasury Department as unclaimed
delivery.Once I confirm you as the recipient,I will pay the
non-inspection fee of two thousand and nine hundred dollars and arrange
for the baggage to be delivered to your door-step or I can bring it
myself to ensure a successful delivery but you have to assure me of 20%
of the total money in the baggage.
I can get everything concluded within 48hrs upon your acceptance and
proceed to your address for delivery. Do send the required details to my
private email address ( email@example.com )
I will give you a call when I get your response.