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:
- 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. )
- "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. )
- "diplomatic agent" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- 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.
- +229 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
- 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. INGA BRITT," <"www."@clock.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "MRS. INGA BRITT," <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 03:22:31 +0900 (JST)
Subject: CONTACT UPS COMPANY FOR YOUR ATM CARD OF 18.9MILLON NOW
This is to bring to your notice that because of the impossibility of
your fund transfer through the Money Gram network, we have credited
your total of $18.9MILLON, valid fund into an ATM MASTER CARD and I have
paid the re-activation fee and the delivery of the ATM Card To you,
I paid it because the ATM Card worth of $18.9MILLON, which I have
registered it delivery yesterday has less than 21 days to expire in
the custody of the UPS Company and when it expires, the money will go
into Federal Government treasury account. With that we decided to help
you pay off the money so that the ATM Card will not expire, because I
trust that when you receive your ATM Card definitely you must pay me
back my money and even compensate me for helping you.
Now I want you to contact UPS Express at: email@example.com
with your physical address you desire the delivery to be made so that
they can deliver your ATM Card to your designated address without any
Like I stated earlier, the crediting re-activation, delivery and the
company registration charges has been paid by me, but we did not pay
their official keeping fees since they refused, they refused and the
reason is that they do not know when you are going to contact them and
the demur-rage might have increased by then, They told me that their
keeping fees is $35 per day only, and I deposited it yesterday on 23th
of JULY 2017
Below is the Contact Information of the
UPS, Express Customer Service
Director Mr. GRRRY MILLIS
Email Address; firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone unmber +229 .22.214.171.124
Contact them today and also send them the security official keeping
charge to avoid increase of their fees and let me know once you
receive your ATM card, Important Notice, your ATM CARD package was
registered as a gift so that the diplomatic Agent will not know the
content of your package okay.
MRS. INGA BRITT,