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:
- "clearance document" (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. )
- 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.
- email@example.com (Citromail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Michael Boehly" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2023 09:17:57 +0700
Subject: CONTACT THE COURIER NOW
This is to bring to your notice that you've been dealing with scammers over the years with regards to your long standing fund payment. You are advised to quit further communications with anyone claiming to have your fund because they'll keep demanding one fee after another.
You were supposed to receive your ATM card package 2 days ago but the delivery was halted due to demand for clearance documents by security agencies. The delivery agent of Top Chrono Courier will complete the delivery once he gets the needed clearance and you are to contact and assist him immediately without any delay.
Make sure you contact him with the following details for security reasons;
Your full names
Contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to remind you that the delivery agent doesn't have much time to stay on this and so you have to contact him as soon as possible.