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. )
- "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. )
- "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 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.Steven Williams" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2021 12:05:58 +0100
Subject: Attn Dear.Beneficiary ,
Attn Dear.Beneficiary ,
This is to bring to your notice that because of the impossibility of your
fund transfer through the Bank network, we have credited your total of
$3.7Million usd valid fund into an ATM MASTER CARD or Visa 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 $3.7Million usd 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.
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 We need the below
details from you,
The keeping fees is $85 only, remember you will pay for the security
keeping fee $85 for the delivery.to be made to you.
Below is the Contact Information of the ATM, Express Customer Service
Director Mr.Henry Peter
Email Address; (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.
Express Customer Service