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:
- "contact the atm card center" (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. )
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "abuja" (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.
- 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.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a 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.
- +2348075081267 (Nigeria, prepaid mobile phone)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "LINDA TRAVIS" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 31 May 2009 10:16:43 -0700
Subject: BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONS ABUJA.
Zakari Maimalari Street
Cadastral Zone AO,
Central Business District, Abuja.
Private : email@example.com
The British High Commission in Nigeria, Benin Republic,Ghana and Burkina faso,South Africa,Togo,Senegal In collaboration with UK(London) Anti-Crime Squad received a report of scam against you and other British/US citizens and Malaysia,Etc.whom the country of Nigeria/Benin, Burkina faso, Ghana And UK(London)Anti-Crime Squad have recompensed you due to meeting held with Four countries Government and the world high commissions against fraud activities by the Four country Citizens.Your name was among those scammed as listed by the Nigeria Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU).
A compensation has been issued out in ATM DEBIT CARD to all the affected victims and has been already in distribution to all the bearers. Your ATM CARD was among those that was reported undelivered as at last Friday and we wish to advise you to see to the instructions of the Committee to make sure you receives your ATM CARD immediately for your usage.
According to the number of applicants at hand,184 Beneficiaries has been paid, half of the victims are from the United States,we still have more 37 left to be paid the compensations of ($1,000,000.00 USD) One Million United State Dollar's each. Your particulars was mentioned by one of the Syndicates who was arrested as one of their victims of the operations,you are hereby warned not to communicate or duplicate this message to him for any reason whatsoever as the U.S. secret service is already on trace of the other criminals. So keep it secret till they are all apprehended.Other victims who have notbeen contacted can submit their application as well for scrutiny and possible consideration.
NFIU further told us that the use of Nigeria Couriers and the Benin was abolished due to interception activities noticed in the above mentioned courier services in Benin,Nigeria and Ghana and thereby have made a concrete arrangement with the DHL Courier Company for a safe delivery to your door-step once the beneficiary meets up the demand of the conveyance.
We advise that you do the needful to make sure the NFIU dispatches your recompense on Friday. You are assured of the safety of your ATM CARD and availability and be advised that you should stop further contacts with all the fake lawyers and security companies who in collaboration scammed you.get back to me immediately to check if the delivery date suits you.
Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved in this transaction, you have to be rest assured for this is 100% risk free it is our duty to protect the American Citizens. All I want you to do is to contact the ATM CARD CENTER via email for their requirements to proceed and procure your Approval Slip on your behalf which will cost you $200.00 only and note that your Approval Slip which contains details of the agent who will process your transaction.So your files would be updated after which he will send the payment informations which you'll use in making payment of $200.00 via Western Union Money Transfer or Money Gram Transfer for the procurement of your Approval Slip after which the delivery of your ATM CARD will be effected to your designated home address without any further delay.
You are advised to send also your direct mobile or telephone number for easier communication.
You are to contact Mr John Simmons Consular/Diplomat BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION ABUJA,with the information below,for the release of your fund.
Contact Person : John Simmons
Zakari Maimalari Street
Cadastral Zone AO,
Central Business District, Abuja.
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
You are to contact directly the office of the Consular at: email@example.com
Yours in Service,
Secretary to the Consular/Diplomat
BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONS ABUJA.
Note: Do disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices claiming to be in possesion of your ATM CARD, you are hereby adviced only to be in contact with Mr. John Simmon of the ATM CARD CENTRE who is the rightful person to deal with in regards to your ATM CARD PAYMENT and forward any emails you get from impostors to this office so we could act upon and commence investigation.