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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "trunk box" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "the diplomat " ("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. Charles J Conway" <@email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2023 19:17:08 -0500
Subject: Attention Beneficiary
Attention My Dear Friend
I am Mr. Charles J Conway, Assistant Inspection Manager at San Francisco
International Airport. During my search for undelivered parcels, I
discovered an abandoned shipment in a metal trunk box which contains
approximately $12.5 Million.
The consignment was abandoned because the diplomat was unable to pay for
the United States Non Inspection Charges which costs $3,800. the
consignment is still left in our Storage House here at the San Francisco
International Airport till date. The details of the consignment includes
your name, your email address.
I want you to reconfirm the following information to enable me to
crosscheck if it corresponds with the one we have here.
Confirm your full names
Your City and address
Your direct phone number
And name of the nearest airport to you
Finally, be informed that the reason I have taken it upon myself to
contact you personally about this abandoned consignment is because I want
us to transact this business and share the money 70% for you and 30% for
me since the consignment has not yet been returned to the United States
Treasury Department, I will go ahead and pay for the United States Non
Inspection Fee of $3,800 dollars and arrange for the box to be delivered
to your doorstep Or I can bring it by myself to avoid any more trouble but
you have to assure me of my 30% share...
I look forward to your urgent reply if you are still alive and willing to
receive your box and I will appreciate it if we can keep this deal
confidential. My private Email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mr. Charles J Conway
Assistant Inspection Manager