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:
- "million dollars" (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)
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "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.
- 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: DHL COMPANY <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 3 May 2017 09:02:05 -0800
Subject: CONTACT DHL FOR YOUR ATM VISA CARD PAYMENT.
DHL INTERNATIONAL OFFICE BENIN EXPRESS.
DHL Delivery Services Company
Contact Person: Mr. Andrew David.
Email :( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Please contact DHL Courier company manager for your payment (ATM
MASTER-CARD) automatic teller machine (ATM) valued of $1.8, million
Dollars (One Million Eight Hundred Thousand United States Dollars
Only.) Note that this email is to 50 selected lucky people of the
countries that have been scammed or extorted money from because of
their Lottery Winning, Contract Payment Execution in any part of the
world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate all the Lottery
Winners and scam victim with the sum of $1.8, million Dollars (One
Million Eight Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) each, This
includes every foreign contractors that may have not yet received
their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction
or international businesses that failed due to Government problems or
irregularities etc. We found your email in our list and that is why we
are contacting you, this has been agreed upon and has been signed by
the United Nations Board of Directors and Trustees from the WORLD BANK
Mr. Hammed Akin.