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:
- 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)
- "million dollars" (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 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Jimmy Johnson (Barclays Bank PLC, UK)" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2021 04:24:47 -0800
Attention: ATM Card Beneficiary,
I wish to use this medium to inform you that your full Payment of
USD$1.6M (One Million Six Hundred Thousand Dollars) from CENTRAL BANK
OF BENIN have been RELEASED and APPROVED for onward transfer to you
via an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw all the USD$1.6M in any
ATM SERVICE MACHINE in any part of the world, but the maximum you can
withdraw in a day is USD$5,500 Only.
We have mandated BANK PHB Benin Plc, to send you the ATM CARD and PIN
NUMBER which you will use to withdraw all your USD$1.6 Million Dollars
in any ATM SERVICE MACHINE in any part of the world, but as i have
mentioned earlier, the maximum you can withdraw in a day is
You are therefore advice to contact the Head of ATM CARD Department of
BANK PHB Benin Plc Contact Person: E-mail
Rev.Lucas Morgan and inform him that you received a message from the
office of the Senate instructing him to send you the ATM CARD and PIN
NUMBER which you will use to withdraw your USD$1.6 Million Dollars in
any ATM SERVICE MACHINE in any part of the world, also send him your
direct phone number and contact address where you want him to send the
ATM CARD and PIN NUMBER
Contact Information of your Agent Bellow.
NAME: REV LUCAS MORGAN
TELEPHONE NUMBER: +22998185006
Thanks for hering to this instruction and once again accept our congratulations.
Senator David Mark