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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "the 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)
- "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)
- "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 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: "Sir Benard Darlington" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2015 22:53:34 -0700
Subject: ATTENTION DEAR FRIEND,
ATTENTION DEAR FRIEND,
I am Benard Darlington, a highly placed official of the Spanish Custom Services. It may interest you to know that reports have reached our office by so many correspondences on the uneasy way which people like you are treated by Various Banks and Courier Companies across Europe to Africa, USA, Asia and we have decided to put a stop to it, These are the reasons is why I was appointed to handle the delivery of the consignment direct to you. Your funds has been sent to you through ATM MASTER CARD.
You are hereby advised not to remit further payment to any institutions here in Benin or London with respect to your transaction as your fund will be delivered to you directly from our DIPLOMAT who is now at Des Moines International Airport Iowa, United States. I hope this is clear. Any action contrary to this instruction is at your own risk. The ATM CARD contained US$1.2 Million. You have to email the diplomat right now on this information below :
Name : Mr. Tony Dalor
Respond to him immediately and Also call him as soon as you receive this email on phone no: 319-774-2744, so that you will be given an immediate response on how he can locate your house address for the delivery to you.
Sir Benard Darlington
SPANISH CUSTOMS SERVICES.
Phone: +229 99 71 27 23