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:
- "security keeping fee" (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. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Andrea B. Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2016 05:11:50 -0400
Subject: Attn My Dearest..
Attn My Dear,
This is to inform you that your Compensation Payment worth of ($3.5M USD,)by the United Nations here in USA,has been converted into ATM Master Card to free it from expiring. And I have registered your ATM Card with the TNT Courier Company for them to deliver it to your home within 48 hours and we agreed that the delivering of your ATM CARD Package will take off as soon as you contact them with your full address where your ATM Card will be delivered to you.
Your Full Name
Home or Office Address
Home, office or Cell Phone Number
I have paid for the Insurance & Delivery Fee, except their Security Keeping Fee which they said it can only be paid when the Deposits is ready for shipment to the Receiver. Please indicate the registration Number (Shipment Code TNT 33xzs) to enable them know that you are the right person.
Contact E-mail : (email@example.com)
Contact Person: Bonnie George
Phone Number:+1 209-713-34578
Please do not let the Courier company to know the real content of the package, I registered it as Plate Disk so please do not let them know that the Package contain Atm Card.
Let me know as soon as you contact the Courier Company.
Andrea B. Smith
Chief Administrative Officer
Bank of America