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:
- "atm card department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "western union" (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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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: Office File <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 2021 12:21:03 +0100
Subject: ATTENTION:ATM MASTER CARD OWNER,
DIRECTOR ATM CARD DEPARTMENT
UBA BANK PLC.
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN WEST AFRICA.
OUR REF:U.B./MF/B01/Vol 01
ATTENTION:ATM MASTER CARD OWNER,
YOUR EMAIL IS WELL RECEIVED AND NOTED,IT IS OUR PLEASURES TO INFORMED
YOU THAT YOUR ATM CARD HAS BEEN APPROVED AND UPGRADED IN YOUR FAVOR
AND YOUR PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER IS (ATM-0212454). YOUR SECRET
PIN NUMBER WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU UPON RECEIVING OF THE ATM FOR SECURITY
REASON, THE ATM CARD VALUE $1.5Musd (ONE MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED
THOUSAND UNITED STATE OF AMERICAN DOLLARS ONLY).
YOU ARE ADVICE THAT A MAXIMUM WITHDRAWAL VALUE OF $5000 USD IS
PERMITTED FOR WITHDRAWAL LIMIT DAILY AND WE ARE DULY INTER-SWITCHED
AND YOU CAN WITHDRAW IN ANY LOCATION OF ATM CENTER OF YOUR
CHOICE/NEAREST TO YOU.
NOW IT LEFT FOR YOU TO COME DOWN TO BENIN REPUBLIC HERE IN WEST AFRICA
AND COLLECT YOUR ATM, BUT IF YOU CAN NOT TRAVELED DOWN TO BENIN HERE
THEN NOTE THAT WE HAVE CONCLUDED ON THE DELIVERY ARRANGEMENT
ACCREDITED COURIER DELIVERY SERVICE ON THEIR PROCEDURES TO DELIVER
YOUR ATM TO YOUR GIVEN ADDRESS, IN VIEW OF THIS DEVELOPMENT, THE COST
OF THE DELIVERY SERVICE IS SUM $200 USD.
BE ADVISED TO KEEP EVERY INFORMATION GIVEN TO YOU SAVED AND SECURED
WITH YOU, KEEP IT VERY CONFIDENTIAL FROM ANY OTHER PERSONS EXCEPT YOU
TO KNOW ONLY.
YOU CAN CALL +229 9862 7229 FOR ORAL DISCUSSION.
FINALLY IF YOU CAN NOT COME DOWN TO BENIN REP AND HAVE YOUR ATM, THEN
YOU WILL HAVE TO SEND THE COURIER SERVICE COST OF $209 USD TO THE
LISTED INFORMATION AS BELOW THROUGH WESTERN UNION ,MONEY GRAM ,RIA
MONEY TRANSFER TO ENABLE US DELIVER YOUR ATM TO YOUR GIVEN ADDRESS.
RECEIVERS NAME: LINUS NGOZI
MORE EVER,NOTE THAT YOUR ATM CARD CAN BE USED IN ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
BECAUSE IT IS AN INTERNATIONAL ATM VISA CARD.
YOURS IN SERVICE
HON Dr. GODS-TIME EDWIN
(THE FOREIGN REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT)
CALL +229 9862 7229