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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Clement Ajayi" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mr. Clement Ajayi" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:38:46 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Your unclaimed ATM Debit Card worth of ($1.2m USD)
Â Your unclaimed ATM Debit Card worth of ($1.2m USD)
This is to acknowledge the receipt of your mail regarding your claim of an ATM Debit Card issued to you. Reference the recent message you received from our department, due to the fact that we are in possession of your ATM Debit Card worth of ($1.2m USD) issued out in your favour this fiscal year. Your contact details was submitted to our office, the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) in respect of the payment of the total approved sum.
The above stated fund was issued to you by the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) ATM Card Promotion Award Team inline with the United Nations millennium development goal to eradicate poverty and hunger by the year 2016. My office has been mandated to inform you that your payment verification and confirmation has been completed and authenticated.
We are therefore happy to inform you that our arrangement has been concluded to effect your payment by ATM Debit Card as soon as possible in our bid for transparency. You are advised that a maximum withdrawal value of $3,500.00 USD is permitted on withdrawal per day and are duly Inter Switch so you can make withdrawal at any location from any ATM (automated teller machine) anywhere in the world wherever traditional VISA cards are accepted.
Furtherance to the delivery arrangement, we have concluded delivery arrangement with the DHL Express Courier Services, the delivery has been scheduled to follow the shipment batch of this week through DHL Express Diplomatic Courier. We take liberty to notify you that DHL Express Courier Company is fully insured by Nicon Insurance Corporation.
The delivery will be made to your address in 48 hours (2days) after the confirmation of your personal details/address. For avoidance of erroneous delivery, kindly provide the required details below for delivery.
(1) Your full name:..........
(2) Your full address:..........
(4) Your contact telephone number:............
(5) Your profession/Occupation:..........
(6) Any valid form of your identification/drivers license:..................
Kindly forward the above details to the DHL Express Courier Services email address below:
DHL Express Courier Services
Telephone: +229 9884 8420
Chief Austin Lucas (Director of Operation)
Treat as a matter of urgency and note that your ATM Debit Card is ready and available for dispatch to you.
Mr. ClementÂ Ajayi
(ECOWAS) ATM Card Promotion Award Team