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:
- "demurrage " (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. )
- "stamp duty" (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. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Mark Jones <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Mark Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2015 19:35:46 +0900 (JST)
Subject: contact dhl courier for your package
Having reviewed all the obstacles and problems surrounding the transfer of your $2.5 Million and your inability to meet up with some charges levied against you due to the past transfer options, We the Board of Directors, United Bank Of African (UBA) has ordered our Foreign Payment Remittance Unit to issue you a CORPORATE ATM CARD today,we got notice that your fund has been uploaded into this CORPORATE ATM CARD and also we have registered it with DHL COURIER for delivery to you.
For your information, The delivery charges has been paid and they were supposed to have shipped your packaged ATM CARD but they insisted that you must reconfirm to them your current delivery address to ensure accurate Delivery. MOST IMPORTANT,Due to the content of the package, DHL mandated that before your package will be shipped A Tax/Stamp Duty MUST be procured according to the New Customs Creed and the essence of such Document is to ensure a hitch free delivery.Therefore reconfirm your current delivery address
Contact :Mr.Harrison Wilson
DHL International Benin
Lot No. 23 Patte D'Oie
03 BP 2147 Cotonou
Please hurry now as your package might in cure demurrage if it stays more than 2 0r 3 days with DHL.
For the Management