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:
- "clearance 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. )
- "consignment " (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)
- "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)
- "the diplomat " ("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 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: "Mr. Richard King." (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:11:57 -0400
Subject: YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX IN CHARLESTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT SC.
I am Richard King, a senior officer at Charleston International Airport SC.I have contacted you regarding an abandoned diplomatic consignment box and the x-ray scan report box revealed some US dollar bill in it which could be approximately 1.3million dollars and the official paper of the box indicates your contact details.
To confirm you as the authentic beneficiary, do send me your full name, your home address, your mobile tel number and the nearest airport close to you. For your information, the box was abandoned by the diplomat who was on transit to your city because he was not able to pay the ATL clearance fee of 3,800dollars. I have taken it upon myself to contact you personally about this abandoned box so that we can transact this as a deal and share the total money 70% for you and 30% for me. As soon as I get the requested detail from you for verification, I will pay the clearance fee and make arrangement for the box to be delivered to you which can be concluded within 4-6hours after confirmation is made and upon your acceptance and willingness to co-operate.
All communication must be held extremely confidential to ensure a successful delivery. Send your response to my private email address (email@example.com). I will be waiting to receive your information inorder for us to proceed.