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:
- 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:
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "certified bank draft" (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 (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: UNITED NATIONS OFFICE <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 16:21:47 +0200
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE
FOR THE COORDINATION
OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIR.
I am directed to inform you that your payment verification and
confirmations are correct, therefore we are happy to inform you that
arrangements have been concluded to effect your payment as soon as
possible Due to your long over-due payment which you have been finding
it difficult to receive via a Certified Bank Draft issued by the UN
Promo, we have arranged your payment through HSBC Bank ATM Card
Payment Center, this is
an instruction passed by the United Nations in respect to all over
delayed payment and debt re-scheduling.
We will send you an International Swift ATM Card that has been
approved in your favor with Card Number: 5301236451206002, with valued
sum of $315,810.00 USD (Three Hundred and Fifteen Thousand, Eight
Hundred and Ten USD Only), which you are to use in accessing your fund
in any ATM Stand/location worldwide and remember that the maximum
withdrawal daily limit is Five Thousand United States Dollars
(US$5,000.00).We have concluded delivery arrangement with the ups
courier services.Please note that the UPS
courier company is fully insured by Nicon Insurance Corporation.
Kindly provide the details below for delivery.
1. Valid Delivery Address.
2. Full Names.
3. Phone Number.
4. Other Email.
Please do confirm that you will take responsibility for the cost of
delivery ($135), so that i will know how to proceed with you. Please
be informed that the delivery will be made to your address in 48 hours
(2 days) after our confirmation of this payment for delivery, as you
know that the delivery fee receipt will be also attached on your
payment delivery documents to avoid your package being delayed by
Treat urgently and note that your ATM Card is ready and available for
dispatch to you and contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
CALL ME FOR YOUR ATM CARD (+2348055435348)