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:
- "atm card department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "clearance fee" (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. )
- "you are required to pay " (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. )
- "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)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo, Philippines, Philippines; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Ban Ki-Moon" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2012 05:05:04 -0500
Subject: TRACK YOUR PACKAGE/CLAIMS OF YOUR FUND
UNITED NATIONS in Affiliation with the EUROPEAN UNION.
885 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
We hereby bring to your notice that your Scam Victim's compensation fund of
$1000,000.00 loaded in ATM CARD is approved and upgraded in your favor and
have been delivered to your doorstep by UPS. Your ATM VISA Card
Number is: 5428 0500 1100 4432. Your Secret Pin Number is:2020.
Your package has been delivered to our Agent in Kentucky-USA waiting to be cleared
You can track your package below:
2. Tracking no: 1Z73257A0473239284
So you are hereby advice to forward to this office Director ATM CARD
Department, your full Name, telephone number and your correct
mailing address where you want him to send the ATM VISA CARD to you. You are
required to pay delivery/clearance fee.
As soon as i receive your information, i will give you the contact details of
our cLAIMING AGENT IN KENTUCKY-USA to enable you send the fee to him so that he
will clear your package at the customs and deliver your ATM CARD to you.
Making the world a better place
Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General UNITED NATIONS).