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:
- "million united state dollars" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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: "Head International Banking Division" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2010 07:05:07 -0700
Subject: PAYMENT PROCESSING CENTER
PAYMENT PROCESSING CENTER
Head International Banking Division
OUR REF:... /PCFPT/035/ZT08
RE: ATM CARD PAYMENT
Congratulations on behalf of this Board and management. After a thorough
review/evaluation of your Inheritence fund by our Board of Evaluation in
conjunction with the World Bank Auditor Generalinlcluding the assessment
report, we have been mandatedto pay with reference to your file.
Below are the details of your card:
CARD TYPE: Inter-Switched ATM Card powered by VISA Card International
WITHDRAWAL LIMIT: $5,000 Per day
CARD VALUE: $2.OOO.000 USD Only (Two Million United State Dollars Only)
TRANSACTION LIMIT: free to transact at any ATM Cash point as well change
the pin code on receipt.
Meanwhile to facilitate the Release of your ATM Card, we shall issue you
IRREVOCABLE GUARANTEE ORDER tomorrow from the Presidency along with specimen
copy of your ATM Card for indication and authentication of your ATM Card
payment by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Endeavour to confirm to me that you have received this important notice by call
or reply (email@example.com)
I expect your immediate response.
Head International Banking Division
24/7 Banking Administrative Service