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:
- 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:
- "you are required to pay " (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. )
- "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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "SPRING INTERNATIONAL BANK" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 22:38:30 +0800
Subject: You Have Won Spring Bank ATM Master Card.
SPRING INTERNATIONAL BANK
This is a personal email directed to you and I request that it be treated as
I wish to inform you that you have been scheduled to be paid $500,000.00 through
our Automated teller machine card (ATM Card) which will only require you to
proceed to any ATM Cash Point to withdraw the sum of $1,000 per day till the
payment is completed.
This development is as a result of a just concluded yearly program where 5
individuals get cash benefits from SPRING INTERNATIONAL BANK. These 5
beneficiaries are selected randomly through personal websites like Facebook.com,
MySpace.com, Plaxo.com, Twitter.com, Hi5.com, Flickr.com and email account
holders etc. Being an international bank, we endeavor to make this opportunity
available to everyone, no matter the location.
All our international shipments are handled by FedEx Nigeria through a special
delivery system, and to enable this take place, you are required to pay a
onetime payment of $250 shipping fee. This is a special delivery system arranged
by FedEx Nigeria for sensitive documents and due to the content; it is the only
delivery option available. The shipping fee is exclusively FedEx charges and not
for the bank, we only help to receive these funds on their behalf and will
immediately authorize them to ship your ATM card once payments are confirmed.
I am sorry we cannot deduct from your funds to pay for the Shipping charges.
This is in accordance with section 13(1-2) of the new payment policy Act as
adopted in 1993 and amended on 3rd July 1998 by the external review committee on
debt. This is to protect our clients and to avoid misappropriation of funds by
Furthermore you are advised to contact me ASAP for the issuance of your ATM card
and my e-mail address is Jamesobi001@w.cn When you contact me, kindly
provide your current:
Full Name (As Stated in your ID)
Contact Address (Where your ATM card will be shipped to)
Valid telephone number
Failure to provide the information above may result to immediate
The above information will be used to process your ATM card before it's issued
out to you. Please be informed that immediately your pay your FedEx shipping
charges, your ATM card will be shipped to your confirmed delivery address. A
FedEx tracking number would be sent to you within the next 24 hours so that you
can monitor the progress of your package and to know when to expect deliveries.
Get back to me with the necessary required details if you are interested in
claiming your funds.
I humbly await your response.