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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "IMF" <email@example.com>, ""
Date: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 22:04:58 -0700
Subject: Delivery Of Your Diplomatic Luggage 122
To Your Attention;
On behalf of the board and management of International Monetary Committees (IMC). London UK, I Christine Lagarde, the Operations Manager wishes to inform you that your boxes tagged diplomatic luggage 122 with Ref: No 1226/X42/206 which was deposited in our vault for safe keeping is due for Immediate collection. Be informed that we have concluded all arrangements to deliver your consignment at your door-step through diplomatic means. In line with the binding diplomatic consignment delivery policies, kindly furnish us with the following as set forth.
A copy of your international passport or any other means of identification as the true consignee .The address where the above cargo/funds should be delivered to and your phone number.List the nearest international airport to your address location.
Meanwhile, we urge you to treat the above requirement with utmost urgency to enable us dispense our duties and obligation accordingly thereby allowing us to serve you in a timely fashion. Upon satisfactory receipt of all the above mentioned, you Will be further acquainted with the detailed delivery itinerary including information of the diplomat who will accompany your boxes.
We pledge our best service at all times.
Foreign Operations Manager