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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "from the desk of" (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)
- "my direct line" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "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.
- 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 (Africamail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Stella William" <firstname.lastname@example.org>>
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2018 17:13:33 +0100
Subject: Payment of your $10.7Million Via ATM CARD
From the Desk of
Mrs. Stella William
ATM Director,( UBA, Africaâs Global Bank)
I am Mrs. Stella William , the Executive Director.ATM Product/ Foreign Operations, UBA, Africaâs Global Bank Lagos Branch we receive an instruction from Federal Government of Nigeria for the payment of your Contract fund through an ATM CARD medium.
We are currently handling the loading of your ATM CARD with the total value of $10,700,000.00 and wish to inform you that the ATM CARD will
be ready this week to be delivered to your designated address.
Be informed by this notice that all beneficiaries of this funds will be the one to take care of the delivery charges and the activation of
the ATM CARD as regulated by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
You are therefore advice to get back to us immediately upon receipt of this notice with reconfirmation of your above details of your full
name and postal address /your direct phone number to enable us proceed with the processing together with the delivery of your ATM CARD to
your door steps on the proposed date and time.
Thanks for your anticipated cooperation as we are ready to serve you better.
Confirm to me once you receive this mail.You can reach me on my direct
line:+2348057900841 if you have any question to ask.
Mrs. Stella William
ATM Product/ Foreign Operations
UBA, Africaâs Global Bank
Call my direct line: +234-8057900841