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:
- 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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "atm payment department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "card center will send you an atm card" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "email@example.com" (this email address looks like addresses used in "ATM SWIFT card" 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "ATM OFFICE" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 11:28:54 -0800
>From the Desk of: DR.Mack John,
Attention: This is to officially inform you that we have verified your contract /inheritance file and found out that why you have not received your payment is because you have not fulfilled the obligations given to you in respect of your contract/inheritance payment.
Secondly we have been informed that you are still dealing with the none officials in the bank all your attempt to secure the release of the fund to you. We wish to advise you that such an illegal act like this have to stop if you wish to receive your payment since we have decided to bring a solution to your problem. Right now we have arranged your payment through our SWIFT CARD PAYMENT CENTRE from Asia Pacific, that is the latest instruction from Mr. President, Chief Umaru Musa Yar'adua (GCFR) Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This card center will send you an ATM card which you will use to withdraw your money in any ATM machine in any part of the world, but the maximum is Twenty Thousand United States Dollars($20,000.00) per day. So if you like to receive your fund in this way, please let us know by contacting the ATM payment department and also send the following information as listed below:
1. Full name
2. Phone and fax number
3. Address were you want them to send the ATM card to (P.O. Box not acceptable)
4. Your age and current occupation.
The ATM card payment center was mandated to issue out 20 million u.s dollars part payment for this fiscal year 2009/2010 to you so bear with us. Also for your information, you have to stop any further communication with any other person(s) or office(s) to avoid any hitches in receiving your payment. Note that because of impostors, we hereby issued you our code of conduct, which is (ATM-9090) so you have to indicate this code when contacting the card center by using it as your subject. We anticipate your total compliance to this message immediately.
FINANCIAL SECTOR SURVEILLANCE.