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)
- "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)
- "trunk boxes" (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.
- 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 (Yahoo, Italy; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: " Mr. Michael J. Fisher" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: " Mr. Michael J. Fisher" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:21:30 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: U.s. Customs and border protection enforcement
Â U.s. Customs and border protection enforcement
Office of investigations sac offices
Sac washington, dc
2675 prosperity avenue
Fairfax, va 22031
Email address: email@example.com
Please i am a newly appointed custom controller officer in my department from the above address. Few months ago during my official duty in my unit, i discovered abandoned two
Trunk boxes left by a diplomatic officer from west Africa .
After due proper investigations it happens that the diplomat abandoned these two trunk boxes fully loaded with $100 dollars bills since march this year and the diplomat who accompanied the boxes ran away due to inability to defend the content of these boxes after been scanned by customs and proved that it was dollars inside the content of the boxes..
To this effect i am contacting you in order to use your name and position to move the boxes to your custody for our mutual sharing which and investment project.
Please i seek your consent and assistance to work with me as i will use my position as the custom controller move the boxes directly to your customs without problem or traces.
If you are interested to work with me and receive the fund
Kindly get back to me immediately so that i will inform you the
Procedures the fund will be move to your custody.
Thanks for your understanding in this matter while i wait your prompt
Response with the following information's of yours below?
1 your private telephone number
2. Your address.
3. Your occupation
Direrct Your Reply to:Â firstname.lastname@example.org
On receipt of these information i will get back to you and we proceed
Achieving this deal.
Mr. Michael J. Fisher
CUSTOM CONTROLLER OFFICER