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. )
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "director of operations foreign remittance division" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "foreign remittance division" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "charles c. soludo" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (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.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- contact information name: kelvin williams email: firstname.lastname@example.org do contact mr. kelvin williams of the atm card centre with (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 2010 21:03:42 -0800
Subject: FBI Director Robert S.Mueller III: GET BACK TO MR KELVIN WILLIAMS ONLY (APPROVED BY FBI)
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
This is to Officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly Investigated with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you are having
an illegal Transaction with Impostors claiming to be Prof. Charles C. Soludo of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Mr Frank Nweke, none officials of Oceanic Bank,
Zenith Banks, Mr. Michell Brown From union bank kelvin Young of HSBC, Ben of Fedex,Ibrahim Sule,Larry Christopher, Puppy Scammers are impostors claiming to be the Federal
Bureau Of Investigation. During our Investigation, we noticed that the reason why you have not received your payment is because you have not fulfilled your Financial Obligation
given to you in respect of your Contract/Inheritance Payment. Therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry Of Finance on your behalf and they have brought a solution to
your problem by cordinating your payment intotal USD$10.5million in an ATM CARD which you can use to withdraw money from any ATM MACHINE CENTER anywhere in the world
with a maximum of $10,000 United States Dollars daily. You now have the lawful right to claim your fund in an ATM CARD.
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 You. 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 $350 only and note that your
Approval Slip which contains details of the agent who will process your transaction.
NAME: Kelvin Williams
Do contact Mr. Kelvin Williams of the ATM CARD CENTRE with your details: EMAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com
So your files would be updated after which he will send the payment informations which you'll use in making payment of $350 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. Please
if you know you cannot be able to afford the $350 for the delivery of your ATM card via FedEx then do not bother to contact Mr. Kelvin Williams as we are in the begining of new
year and he should be busy with some other things.
We order you to get back to Mr. kelvin williams Only right away.
FBI Director Robert S.Mueller III.
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. Kelvin
Williams 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 Mr. Kelvin
williams so we could act upon and commence investigation.
THIS IS FBI SECURITY ALERT EMAIL DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL FOR SECURITY REASON.
From: MR KELVIN WILLIAMS
The Director of Operations
Foreign Remittance Division
ECOBANK OF BENIN PLC
COTONOU, BENIN, REP.
+229 9819 7721