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:
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Uche Williams (Director)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 13:02:10 -0300 (BRT)
Subject: You are required to provide your information such as:
ATM DEPARTMENT HEAD OFFICE.
TINUBU SQUARE, VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS-NIGERIA
Therefor, we are happy to inform you that arrangements has been perfectly
concluded to effect your payment as soon as possible in our bid and
transparency inline with the programs of our NEW President (Goodluck
Jonathan) the commander in chief of the armed forces federal republic of
Nigeria in his crusade against corruption in Nigeria. This is to inform
you that your ATM CARD has been credited with your money and it is ready
You are required to provide your information such as:
YOUR FULL NAME :............
YOUR HOME ADDRESS :.........
YOUR PHONE NUMBER :.........
Note that your ATM Card Value is USD$9.5 Million Only. And also know that
the maximum withdrawal value is USD$4,800 permitted per day, your Secret
Pin Number is 8827. We are duly inter-switched so that you can make
withdrawal in any location of the ATM Centre of your choice/nearest to you
in your country.
Congratulations onces again.
Dr. Uche Williams (Director)
Foreign Operations (C. B. N)