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:
- "western union" (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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Manager of TNT Courier Company <"www."@dance.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: Manager of TNT Courier Company <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2017 03:00:28 +0900 (JST)
Subject: From TNT Courier Company Office Benin Republic.
From TNT Courier Company Office Benin Republic.
This is the inform you that there is ATM VISA card in this office deposited by a Dr.Mary James on the 13 of MARCH 2017. Your e-mail address was attached to it and is to be posted to you. We have been waiting for you to contact us for your confirmable ATM card which contains the sum of $15.8 Million USD and some vital documents. So kindly get back to this office (TNT COURIER COMPANY BENIN REPUBLIC) to avoid fraudulent issues concerning in this service.
Contact Mr. Dupont David
Phone +229 98146952
that we should send the ATM You are to reconfirm and provide to us your Delivery address below.
Your full name.........
Your postal address.....
Your direct phone.......
Note: that you are to pay for the Delivery fee of $65.USD you are advise to send the fee through western union or money gram to the cashierÃ¢s name below and forward the payment information to the Company email: firstname.lastname@example.org for immediate Delivery of your ATM.
Receiver name.......PAUL IKE
Note: that every claim has an expiring period of fourteen workingdays (14days) so you have to send this fee so that your ATM will be Delivered to you urgently to avoid expiration,
Here is the tracking Number of your Card #5544 32421 www.tnt.com
Understand that it will not track now due to your Card is not yet on the Shipment
Your best regard
Mr. Dupont David
Manager of TNT Courier Company