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:
- "sent to you via courier service" (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. )
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR. MIKE EZE" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 2020 03:55:13 +0100
Subject: Your ATM Card Delivery
I am Mr. Mike Eze, World Bank representative here in Nigeria, going
by series of petition received from International body on the way your
funds payment of USD $10M was handled in the past...
It was resolved and agreed upon that your funds would be released on a
special method of payment, which tag Name reads SWIFT CREDIT CARD.
This method of payment is designed by the Government to avert fraud
perpetration or stoppage of fund by some agencies either through Anti
Terrorist Certificate or other certificates. This Swift Credit Card
would be issued to you upon meeting the Bank Requirements.
This office has been mandated to take charge of the issuance of your
ATM SWIFT CREDIT CARD, and that your payment file was passed to my
desk for clarification. Upon certification that your file is ok this
office would direct you on how to receive your over due
inheritance/contract/lotto-win fund via ATM SWIFT CREDIT CARD or
The ATM SWIFT CREDIT CARD would be delivered to you via courier
service to any destination of your choice. In the light of this
aforementioned, you are required to furnish this office with the
following information to enable us proceed with your funds payment
Your Next of Kin Name:
Date of Birth:
Your telephone number/Mobile and fax:
This information would be used in opening of an account which the Bank
will be sent to you for verification. The ATM SWIFT CREDIT CARD will
be processed in your favor with the credit card number and all your
information inserted into the card. Upon completion of this issuance
of the credit card, it will be sent to you via courier service to your
residential or mailing address as mentioned above.
Urgently furnish this office with your contact information in order to
reconfirm if it's in line with the one contained in our payment data
file. Be informed that your fund has been called back and it's now in
our custody deposited in an Escrow account. A new account has to be
opened in your Name before the Swift Credit Card is issued and sent to
Waiting for your urgent response via may private E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also call out hot line +234-8038861724,
Mr. MIKE EZE