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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "00,000.00" (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 dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Volkswagen MOTORS WORLDWIDE LTD" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2010 12:35:36 +0100 (BST)
I just want to inform you that I have deposited your ATM MASTER CARD of
USD $1, 800, 000, 00 United state dollars to the TNT Express Delivery
Services here in West Africa, due to I have waited enough to hear from you
to let you the result of Volkswagen MOTORS WORLDWIDE LTD Email Lottery
Promotion held on the 30 June 2010 as part of our programs to Launch our
multi million dollar office that was commissioned on 7th of July 2010 in
West Africa, Nigeria. Your email was attached to ticket number VJETTA-
UK-VP990003-M4GA with draw number P93VWJ which consequently won you in the
2nd category prize, your email address was extracted from our electronic
email extraction system which randomly selected Fifth teen (15)
Lucky Winners of which your email address was among one of the lucky
winner.. You have therefore been approved for a payout of a total sum
800,000.00 USD which has been lodged into an ATM Card. I now decide to
deposit the ATM MASTER CARD with the TNT Express Delivery Services with
your previous information as you listed it that time.
I have paid to them their delivery charges & insurance coverage fee, the
only fee to be paid again is their security safe keeping fee of $170
Dollars only. I would have paid that but they said no because they don't
know when you will contact them and in case of demur-rage. I will
be traveling to IRAQ to see my boss and I will not come back till next
month, therefore I will advise you to contact the TNT shipment Officer
with his contact information as listed below for the avoidance's of
increase of their security safe keeping fee.
Note that I packaged the ATM MASTER CARD inside a magazine where nobody
will notice the content, I also told the shipment officer Prof. Aba Roland
that it is ordinary African magazine I want to deliver to my friend abroad
to avoid further delay unless you delay to send their security safe
keeping fee. Make sure you contact him through this Email Address:
Below is the shipments officer contact information including his email
address with the parcel reference number, note that without you indicating
your parcel number as listed below the TNT Express Delivery Services will
not listen to you they will be imagining if you want to steal another
Attention: Prof. Aba Roland Shipment Officer of TNT Express Delivery
Shipment Code: CPEL/OWN/9876
Parcel Number: EG2272
Also below is the information they need to deliver the ATM MASTER CARD in
form of African Magazine to your address, this is to avoid wrong delivery
as i already gave them your delivery address but you have to re-confirm it
to them ok.
Please make sure the information is complete as they promised that once
they receive their security safe keeping fee within 2 to 3 working days
the magazine will arrived your door step according to the shipment
Once again, the TNT Express Delivery Services do not know the content of
the parcel; I registered it as an African Magazine they don't know it
contains ATM MASTER CARD inside, this is to avoid them delaying
the delivery and besides I don't want you to lose your inheritance funds.
Your ATM MASTER CARD withdrawing access pin code number is (0114) take
Note, once you receive the card you take it to any cash point around your
Area and slotting it and enter the pin code for withdrawal, the amount you
are to withdrew per day is USD$20,000.00. (Twenty thousand United State
Dollars) each day. Also ask them on how you are to make the payment
for the security fee to them so they can effect immediate delivery on your
Remain blessed and enjoy your funds.
Barrister David Councill.