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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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. )
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "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: "FedEx Online" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2017 16:34:19 +0600
We have a Package that is registered with us for shipping to your
residential location, we thought your sender gave you our contact details
to contact us. Note the content of your package itself is a Bank Draft
worth $1.5 million. FedEx don't ship cash or cheque but Bank Drafts are
shippable. Your depositor/colleague explained that he is from U.S.A but
currently in Africa for a three (3) months Surveying Project, We are
sending this email because your package is registered on a Special Order.
The Vat, Shipping charges and Insurance had been paid by your colleague.
Kindly complete the form below and send it to FedEx Online Team. However,
you will have to pay a sum of $125 to the FedEx Online Team being full
payment for the Security Keeping Fee as stated in our privacy terms &
condition page. Send your details as it's mandatory to confirm them to us.
Packages are not shipped nor delivered on Saturday, Sunday and on
holidays. If your order is placed on any of these days, then it may be
shipped the following business day.
Contact Person: Agent Michael Solomon
FedEx Online Team.