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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "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)
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "contact the diplomat" ("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. )
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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: "Dr. O. Joseph" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016 20:02:52 -0300
Subject: Sequel to the secretive arrangement in regards to the shipment...
>From Hon. Dr. O. Joseph
Head, Banking Operations,
Societe Generale Bank Limited.
Sequel to the secretive arrangement in regards to the shipment of your consignment, I wish to inform you that all necessary modalities have been completely concluded and have today left my country under high diplomatic immunity to London en-route to your Country by Express Cargo Flight.
Note carefully that the content of the crate is "MONEY" but I did not disclose it to the Courier Services as Money, rather I informed them that the crate contain Vital "DIPLOMATIC DOCUMENTS" belonging to my client (that's you).
Furthermore, the weight of the consignment is 220kg but I manage to pay 120kg, which cost US$75,600.00 but do not worry as I have concluded with them on this regard. All I need now is your maximum co-operation and assistance for a successful and hitch-free delivery to you.
Note that on no account should you disclose the content of the crate with the Diplomatic Courier Services for fear of betrayal. So do not allow them to know that the content is money.
In the meantime, contact the Diplomatic Courier Services on Tel/Fax: +447978269133 to know the actual situation with the consignment and also give them your address where the consignment will be delivered and then get back to me with your DIRECT MOBILE TELEPHONE NUMBER as soon as possible so that I can give you the shipment document.
Meanwhile, I will be coming over to your country immediately the consignment arrives in your Country for my 60% while you take 40% share. Congrats and remain blessed.
Dr. O. Joseph