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:
- "registration 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. )
- "the 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)
- "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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned 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: "Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard." (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2021 03:27:19 -0700
Subject: From Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard. 18th August 2021
U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA
OFFICE OF THE U.S AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA
1075 Diplomatic Dr, Area, Abuja
U.S. AMBASSADOR FUND NOTIFICATION
Contact My Private Email (email@example.com)
Am The New Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard United State Of America to Nigeria I Re-sum office on December 24th, 2019 as the New Ambassador I have to go Through every Document in my office and notice that your name is involved in scam list, which the United Nation has decided to compensate you with the sum of $15.5m through Nigeria Government and it will be through ATM Master Card for Easy use.
I shall be coming to your country for an official meeting on October 28th,2021 and I shall be bringing your ATM Master Card that contains $15.5m along with me, but this time I will not go through Custom because as an Ambassador to FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, I am a US GOVERNMENT AGENT and I have the veto power to go through Custom. As soon as I am through with my meeting I shall then proceed to your registered house address with your ATM Master Card Fund.
Without missing words, I am convinced 100% that you have had bitter experience with various scams claiming to be high government officials and thereby defrauding you of your 'hard-earned money' The activities of these scammers have changed your perspective about conducting business on the internet, and you now believed there is no genuine business that can be conducted on the internet. Well, I am an American and the internet was created by Americans for the purpose of creating awareness of your products/services and conducting genuine business with ease. I am fully committed to deliver the your master card to you.
I am a full citizen of the United States Of America, but I was on a Foreign Mission here in NIGERIA as a US Ambassador. Hence, I am making every effort to ensure that no citizen of the United States Of America and other part of the world is cheated by Nigeria, Benin Republic. Therefore, I need your utmost support and understanding to actualize this dream. I also want you to understand that I do trust you and I expect you to show me the same trust and respect in return since trust is a 2-way street. On the other hand, trust is a relationship of reliance. Trust also means being able to predict what other people believe.
Trust is both an emotional and logical act. Emotionally, it is where you expose your vulnerabilities to people, but believing they will not take advantage of your openness. Logically, it is where you have assessed the probabilities of gain and loss, calculating expected utility based on hard performance data, and concluded that the person in question will behave in a predictable manner. In practice, trust is a bit of both. I trust you because I have experienced your trustworthiness by merely believing in what I have said, even when you have not seen me, and because I have faith in humanity.
Frankly speaking, I understand that anyone in your shoes will feel betrayed, but I still want you to show me your trust by giving me the benefit of doubt on this delivery arrangement. My identity and personality is verifiable, and I promise to deliver the consignment to you safely without any hitch. Your ATM Master Card ($15.5m) MUST BE REGISTERED AS AN AMBASSADORIAL PACKAGE as planned. Do not allow this mission to die off because of $455 US Dollars for the registration fee of your ATM Master Card, I meant so well for you and I believe you will appreciate me more when you have finally Receive Your Card.
I will use my position and personality to deposit the ATM Master Card worth $15.5m USD into your bank account without questioning from the financial monitoring authorities, since all documentations proving the legitimacy of the funds have been processed. Please don't see me as one of the numerous dubious Benin Republic or Nigeria you have dealt with in the past. I am a different person entirely and I come from a different continent. I have the American spirit in me and I hate cheaters. I promise to always uphold the national unity of the United State. Please reply back ASAP.
I hope you will understand and follow my instruction to enable me serve you better.Contact my private email(firstname.lastname@example.org )
Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard.
US AMBASSADOR TO FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
EMAIL : email@example.com