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:
- "card center will send you an atm card" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "OCEANIC BANK" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 00:24:20 +0100
Subject: YOUR ATM CARD
Oceanic Bank International Plc.
Address:Plot 270 Ozumba Mbadiwe,
Victoria Island, Lagos.
Director, Debit Card.
Dept.Special Payment Scheme.
From: Mr Adewale Bright.
Amount: US$5.5 Million
This is to officially inform you that ATM card number: 5179 1234 5678 9120 worth Five Million Five Hundred Thousand($5.5Million usd) has been credited in your favor in bid to compensate you on your contract payment since you are next on our inheritance file for the Second part of this fiscal Year 2011.The card center will send you an ATM CARD which you
will use to withdraw your money in any ATM MACHINE in the world.
Your personal identification is ATM- 7997. Contact the verification officer Mr Adewale Bright for proper verification and claim processing
Full Name ------
You are also required to send to the verification officer/agent a means of Identification
which should be a scan copy of your Driver's License or
International Passport for proper verification and authentication.
Mr Adewale Bright