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:
- "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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Guilloteau Maryline" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2021 17:51:37 +0100
Subject: Dearly Beloved In Christ
Attn My Dear,
This is to inform you that your Compensation Payment worth of
(US$8.500,000.00)by the United Nations here in USA, has been converted into
ATM Master Card to free it from expiring. And I have registered your ATM
Card with the UPS EXPRESS COURIER COMPANY for them to deliver it to your
home within 48 hours and we agreed that the delivering of your ATM CARD
Package will take off as soon as you contact them with your full address
where your ATM Card will be delivered to you.
Your Full Name
Home or Office Address
Home, office or Cell Phone Number
I have paid for the Insurance & Delivery Fee, except their Security Keeping
Fee of US$145 which they said it can only be paid when the Deposits is
ready for shipment to the Receiver. Please indicate the registration Number
(Shipment Code FLK 33xzs) to enable them know that you are the right person.
Contact E-mail : (email@example.com)
Contact Person: Dr Shylock Dickson
Phone Number: +229 61 280 053
Please do not let the Courier company to know the real content of the
package, I registered it as Plate Disk so please do not let them know that
the Package contain ATM Card.
Let me know as soon as you contact the Courier Company.
Mrs. Guilloteau Maryline,