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:
- "demurrage " (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. )
- "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. )
- "million us 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)
- 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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Chidera Nkem <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2021 22:34:51 -0700
Subject: Contact DHL Express Immediately!!
This is to bring to your notice that, I have paid there activation fee and
the delivery of your compensation of ATM MASTER CARD as scam victims
compensation. And I paid it because the ATM MASTER CARD ($15.5Million us
dollars) is about to expire and when it expires, the money will go into
Government purse. With that I decided to help you pay the money so that,
the Atm Card will not expire, because I know when you get your ATM MASTER
CARD definitely you must pay me back my
money and even compensate me for helping you.
Now I want you to contact DHL Express Office with your Full Contact
informationâs so that they can deliver your ATM MASTER CARD to your
designated address without any delay. Like I stated earlier, the delivery
charges has been paid but I did not pay their official keeping fees since
They refused and the reason is that they do not know when you are going to
contact them and demurrage might have increase. They told me that their
keeping fee is $25.00 per day and I deposited it Monday
Below is their Contact Informationâs
Contact Person: Mr. Matthew Monger
DHL Express Office
once you receive your ATM MASTER CARD.
Mrs Chidera Nkem