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:
- "swift card payment center" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "African Development Bank" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2009 14:17:49 -0700
Subject: Final Notice....Your Atm Card Is Ready (Call To Confirm).
>From Desk of the President
African Development Bank,
No 12 Tinubu Square Lagos-Nigeria
Happy New Year to you, I am Mr.James Dunn, the President African Development Bank.
This is to bring to your notice that my office has taking over all the money Transaction
originated from any part of Africa and Europe countries as Contract payment, Fund
Inheritance or Lottery Winning due to Unauthorized/incapability of financial
Institutions/security companies In releasing such huge sum of money due to
Fraud, terrorist and money Laundry activities going on world wide.
The World Bank Group has Mandated the African Development Bank via my Office to
release funds to beneficiaries through our SWIFT CARD PAYMENT CENTER in
Europe,America, Africa and Asia Pacific, Hence Your Name appears as one of the
fund beneficiaries whom their fund was successfully cleared recently From
Terrorist and Money laundry and your money will be released to you Through ATM
CARD that will be cash able via ATM MACHINE, through our SWIFT CARD PAYMENT
CENTER in Europe, America, Africa and Asia Pacific, been the only way you would
receive Your money to avoid paying excess charges.
As regards to this arrangement You are advised to contact the telex director
Mr.Tony Ola through his Direct Email : email@example.com, inform him to issue
you the ATM CARD with the complete name you would provide to him. You are
therefore advised as final notification to fill
the ATM application form below and send to Mr Tony Ola via e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org or
for final confirmation call DL : +2347027976790
ATM CARD APPLICATION FORM.
Name of Applicant :
Name of next of kin :
Date of birth :
Place of birth :
Home Address :
Business Address :
NOTE THAT AN APPROVAL HAS BEEN SENT TO THE OFFICE OF THE SENATE PRESIDENT AND
WILL BE FORWARDED TO YOU LATER TODAY AND A SCAN COPY OF YOUR ATM CARD.
For security purposes, please give Mother's maiden Name:
Any Authorize user? Please indicate name:
In our next reply you will be required to pay for the delivery charge
immediately and within the two days your (ATM CARD) will be delivered to your
The purpose of this schedule is to summarize to you the key features of our
Two years card validity
Flexibility on Multi-currency purchase
Secured or clean ATM card available
Open to customers and non-customers
On-line monthly statement of account
A convenient card for shopping around the world
24 hours access to funds, without the need for cash or cheque
An easy way to track spending, with detailed listing of every purchase on
monthly Statement, clearly indicating date, time and location
Be aware that your fund has obtained all it's clearance to be Released to you.
Finally Mr Tony Ola is standby to receive your communication and Release your
funds to you through ATM CARD Without any delay. Make your contact directly to
Mr.Tony Ola, Tel: +234-01-437-3886 Email : email@example.com any time because we
are working 24 Hours to be able to meet up with the mandate given to us by the
world bank.It is more better that you make your contact to Mr.Tony Ola through
telephone for more detailed information as he is a very busy Man.
Thanks for Your Cooperation.
(President) African Development Bank