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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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: "Nancy Sheba" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 05:02:26 -0400
Subject: Re: YOUR ATM CARD
Dear Valued Customer,
This is to officially inform you that we acknowledge swift message from the atm card promotion to pay you in accordance to your won sum as categorized by your winning and ticket number for the transfer of your won fund Usd$1,000,000.00 with our Bank through our International ATM Pacific Unit, consequently we wish to bring to your notice as well that the amount involved is quite substantial and due to financial regulations, all large value foreign currency transactions must meet verification requirements, prior to being disbursed to the recipient/ beneficiary.
In accordance with mandatory statutory regulations governing contractual and client agreement with our bank, we have instructed our ATM Union Pay Card department to set up Non residence account on your behalf and load your entire funds in an ATM Card so that you will be able to make withdrawal from any ATM Machine in your country and around the world depending on your premium activation. According to procedure, we ask that you contact us by return email, upon receipt of this communication in order for us to verify your receiving information and more importantly, to have you fill in the ATM Application Form.
Once you have confirmed the receipt of your information, we will move to process your file for Insurance Coverage and indicate the expected date for the delivery of your ATM Card. Our mandate as well is to ascertain that there are no encumbrances or liens on our file prior to delivery, and that if you are aware of such, we ask that you inform us.
Subsequently, we will provide you with the delivery details as we proceed. Note that you are to respond to this correspondence within two banking days and that only the parties whose name appear on the approval letter are authorized to communicate with us.
Mr Jim Wise
Mrs . Nancy Sheba
Director of Operation