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:
- "activation 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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Mrs. Bella Holbrook" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 00:10:56 -0400
Subject: Payment Notification
My name is Mrs. Bella Holbrook and I work with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), I am writing you to let you know that finally your ATM Card worth $650,000.00 USD has been delivered through UPS to Mr. Hart Leroy, who works with the IMF where it is going to be activated before final delivery to your home address. You can use the tracking number with the tracking site below to track the ATM Card to be sure it has been delivered to Mr. Hart, for activation.
UPS Tracking number: 1z2876490390947593
UPS tracking site: http://www.ups.com/index.html
Below is the contact information to Mr. Hart Leroy
Contact Name: Mr. Hart Leroy
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Number: +1505-240-6112
You are to contact Mr. Hart with his email address above then he will guide you on how your Card will be activated and delivered to your home address.
Please Fill Our The Following Information.
Note: The only fee you are to send for the activation fee is just $250 USD so make sure you dont send him more than $250 USD. Your card is already with him and you can track it with the tracking details given to you above for confirmation.
Congratulations once more.
Mrs. Bella Holbrook
International Monetary Fund (IMF)