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:
- "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)
- "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: "PETER CHANG" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 22:18:25 +0800
Subject: GOOD NEWS
Account normalization of your banking details has been delayed by International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and Financial Services Authority (USA). This has made it
necessary for your inheritance payment to be programmed into HSBC Visa Atm Debit
Card. The total fund in question is $5,300,000.00 This is the first part of the
Payment of which the balance will subsequently be paid into same account.
Bank of China, working in relationship with HSBC BANK USA and also Leeds Bank
in China has concluded to issue you an ATM CARD with which you can use to access
your beneficiary amount $5,300,000.00 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 Fifty Thousand United States Dollars($50,000) per day.
So if you like to receive your fund in this way, please let us know by
contacting the Managing Director ATM payment department (ANDY LAU) on email
(firstname.lastname@example.org)Get back to this office with 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
5.Attachment copy of your ID
The ATM card payment center was mandated to issue out $5,300,000.00 as part
payment for this fiscal year 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-811) 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.
MR PETER CHANG
Secretary to Bank of China
Guangzhou Branch, China P.R.C.