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:
- "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. )
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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: "Christine M. Lagarde" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:04:35 -0500
Subject: IMF FUND ALERT!!!
The sum of $4.6 million. out of your over due total sum has been approved for payment through ATM cash card system after all attempts to pay you through bank, and diplomatic courier failed.
I am glad to send you this email to notify you concerning your ATM CARD which is in our custody for the past few months. We want you to understand that the delivery fees is being paid by the authorities and what you need to do now is to contact us immediately so that the delivery will commence to your door step as soon as possible.
Note that you are to pay for the safe security keeping fees of your ATM CARD which is just $175 Dollars only, so that immediate effect will take place for the delivery of your ATM CARD. If you know you won't be able to pay for the safe security keeping fee of your ATM CARD which is very mandated, please do not respond back to this email.
Please i repeat myself again if you know that you will not be able to pay for the safe security keeping of your ATM CARD which is just $175 please i beg of you not to respond to this email because it will not help.
Do fill this information and get back to us as soon as You received this message, thereby sending this confidential details to this e-mail for security reasons or call or text Mr. Paul Gilstrap for the immediate release of your fund:
ASSIGNED AGENT: email@example.com
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND(IMF) : firstname.lastname@example.org
Reconfirm your mailing address. ===============================================
Personal Phone Number...........
Thanks for your understanding.
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Sorry if you received this letter in your spam, Due to recent connection error here in the country.