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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "atm payment department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "activation fee" (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. )
- "million us 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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Peter Moore <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2011 10:47:48 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Contact the Bank For Your Atm Card
This is to inform you about my success in converting your total fund into an ATM master card to curtail the risk of carrying huge amount of $2.5Million US Dollars arround Occeanic Bank PLC are the people that coded this amount of $2.5 Million USD in the card and they are going to tell you how to make use of it.Presently I am out of the country for investing our own part of the total money.
I have arranged with Occeanic Bank PLC to make your payment to you with their new ATM MASTER CARD which you can use to withdraw your money in any ATM MACHINE around the globe.You have to contact the Occeanic Bank PLC ATM CARD PAYMENT DEPARTMENT BENIN REPUBLIC and reconfirm your information to them with your full contact informations such as follows.
1. FULL NAME------------
2.ADDRESS WERE YOU WANT THEM TO SEND THE ATM CARD--------
3 PHONE AND FAX NUMBER-----------------
4.YOUR AGE AND CURRENT OCCUPATION----------
5.COPY OF YOUR PICTURE----------------
I have paid for the processing and delivery charges.The only Money that your are going to pay to them is $135 Benn the Re-Activation Fee. Try to contact them as soon as possible to quicken the processing of your card before your ATM MASTER CARD attracts demurrage.
However, Kindly contact the below person whom is in position to release your ATM CARD.
ATM PAYMENT DEPARTMENT, ZENITH BANK PLC.
Try as much as you can to call the Manager incharge of the Occeanic Bank Plc by phone once you have contact the bank so that the process will not take much time.Let me know as soon as you receive your Card.
Thanks And Remain Bless.