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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "security keeping 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. )
- "western union" (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 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)
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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: ATM PAYMENT CENTER <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2011 12:16:20 +0100 (BST)
Subject: GOOD NEWS FOR YOU
INTERNATIONAL ONLINE TRANSACTION
ATM DEPARTMENT HEAD OFFICE BENIN
MS.ROSE BRWON &
06 BP 1409 AKPAKPA DODOME
COTONOU REPUBLIC OF
THIS IS TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR FUND IN THIS OUR
DEPARTMENT CENTRE WHICH WAS DEPOSITED BY A PRIVATE ORGANIZATION BODY ON THE 3RD
OF THIS MONTH.
FURTHER MORE, THIS DEPARTMENT CENTRE HAVE CODED YOUR
CHEQUE FUND IN ATM MASTER CARD. REASON YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS WAS ATTACHED TO IT
AND IS TO BE CODED AND SEND TO YOU. WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU TO CONTACT US
FOR YOUR CONFIRMABLE ATM CARD WHICH CONTAINS THE SUM OF $1.5MILLION UNITED STATE
DOLLARS AND SOME VITAL DOCUMENTS BEFORE I WENT AND REGISTERED YOUR ATM CARD WITH
TNT EXPRESS SERVICE COMPANY TO DELIVER IT YOU.
THIS IS TO BRING TO YOUR NOTICE THAT I HAVE PAID THE
REGISTRATION AND DELIVERY FEE OF YOUR ATM CARD BUT THEY REFUSE TO COLLECT THEIR
SECURITY KEEPING FEE REASON THEY DON'T KNOW HOW LONG THE ATM CARD WILL STAY IN
THEIR SECURITY DEPARTMENT ,NOW IT IS VERY URGENT TO CONTACT THE TNT EXPRESS
SERVICE COMPANY RIGHT NOW SEND THEIR SECURITY KEEPING FEE OF $95 TO THEM.
NOTE: THAT YOU ARE TO PAY FOR THEIR SECURITY KEEPING
FEE OF $95.ACCORDING TO THE DIRECTOR MR.JAMES NELSON YOU ARE ADVISE TO SEND THE
THEIR SECURITY KEEPING FEE OF $95 THROUGH WESTERN UNION TO THEIR PROTOCOLE
OFFICER'S NAME BELOW AND FORWARD THE PAYMENT INFORMATION TO THEM FOR URGENT
SHIFTS OF YOUR ATM CARD.
SEND THE $95 THROUGH WESTERN
UNION WITH THEIR PROTOCOL NAME BELOW.
RECEIVER NAME :::::::::::: OKECHUKWU
QUESTION::::::::::::: IN GOD.
AS SOON AS YOU SEND THE $95 TRY TO FORWARD THE PAYMENT
DETAILS TO THIS EMAIL
ADDRESS LISTED BELOW.
DIRECTOR MR.JAMES NELSON
EMAIL :( firstname.lastname@example.org)
LET ME REPEAT TRY TO CONTACT THE COMPANY AS SOON AS
YOU RECEIVED THIS MAIL TO AVOID ANY FURTHER DELAY AND REMEMBER TO PAY THEM
OFFICAL KEEPING FEE OF $95 TODAY TO AVOID INCREASING THEIR SECURITY
THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE RECEIVED THEIR ATM CARD
FROM TNT SERVICE.
NAME: Ruth Brinson: Destination: FEDERAL WAY:Tracking
Number 606263571: WEBSITE: (www.tnt.fr)
BENGT ARNE PERSSON : Destination:BREMEN : Tracking Number 666281974: WEBSITE:
HERE IS THE TRACKING NUMBER DIRECTION.
Click the on this WEBSITE ( www.tnt.fr ) then you will see on top
TWO COLUMS but on left side end top you will see where they write ( SUIVRE UN
COLIS ) in capital letter then under IT you will see ONE LINE just put this
tracking number( 606263576 ) You will see again where they write in BLUE COLOUR
( Rechercher ) just click IT.THE WEBSITE will show you time and date their ATM
CARD was LEFT and RECEIVED in good CONDITION.
Contact them Today to avoid increase of their
keeping fee and let me know once you receive your ATM Card.
Yours Shipment Code: #AXIA
Your Package Registration No; #Eg2272,
Security Code No: #
The courier company
will give you your tracking number once you pay
INTERNATIONAL ONLINE TRANSACTION CENTER,ATM DEPARTMENT HEAD