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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "atm card department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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: "Cecilia Ibru" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2010 15:57:05 +0300
Subject: ATM CARD PAYMENT,CALL MR FRANK JAMES IMMEDIATELY!
FROM THE DESK OF MRS CECILIA IBRU
DIRECTOR,FOREIGN OPERATIONS DEPARTMENT,
OCEANIC BANK INTERNATIONAL
We hereby officially notify you about the present arrangement to pay you your over due contract/inheritance funds which you could not complete the process of the released of your transfer pin code through the Digitalized Payment System. We have decided to pay your funds without any requested fee but through (ATM Master Express Credit Card) This arrangement was initiated/constituted by the World Bank and Paris Club, due to fraudulent activities going on within the African Region.
The World Bank and Paris Club introduced this payment arrangement as to enable our contractors/inheritance beneficiary to receive their funds without any interference. the ATM Master Express Credit Card was contracted and powered by GOLD CARD WORLD WIDE.
Reconfirm the following information to us for security reasons:
1)YOUR FULL NAMES
2)YOUR MAILING ADDRESS.
3)YOUR DIRECT TELEPHONE NUMBER
Upon the receipt of this information we are going to credit your funds into the Master Express Credit Card and send a scanned copy of the card to you before we will proceed to despatch the card directly to your nominated mailing addresss.So you absolutely have nothing to worry about as all we need is your prompt response and co-operation.
Contact the ATM CARD department
MR Frank James
Email to contact :firstname.lastname@example.org
CONGRATULATIONS IN ADVANCE.
MRS CECILIA IBRU
OCEANIC BANK INTERNATIONAL
CC: ALL FOREIGN INHERITANCE FUNDS
CC:CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR
CC: BOARD OF DIRECTORS [FPD]
CC: ACCOUNTANT GENERAL OF NIGERIA