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:
- "atm payment department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "mtcn" (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. )
- "consignment " (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 advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "ATM PAYMENT DEPARTMENT FINANCIAL BANK \(Foreign Operation Dept\)" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 19:23:00 +0100 (BST)
Subject: DO WE PAY THEM?
I am Mr Mr. Williams Peter, General manager to the ATM Payment Department. The attached picture was taken in my office where i was serving verification documents to the White men Mr Gabriel Evans and Mr Alan Mills who stormed my office in bank of the Black Gentleman (on white African attire). the black man Mr Fred Johnson claimed to be your representative and the supervisory Engineer that supervised and certified your ATM CARD execution that was shifted from the previous Paying Institute to the ATM Payment department (OUR DEPARTMENT ) because of their inability to have paid it at the agreed time.
They said that you were dead and before your death, you appointed them as the next of kin to your contract/inherited fund presently under our custody these two whitemen and the black gentleman quickly applied that your Inherited fund should be presented to them at the spot.
The Official responsible for the presentation of consignment quickly granted approvals to their application and packaged the fund for them to go with it When the Atm Payment Department Debit Note was submitted to my desk for final Approvals before forwarding it to them for endoresment, I noticed that there are discrepancies as there was no evidence of authorisation letter from you for the change of beneficiary. I urgently summoned The Official responsible for the presentation of the ATM Card and every documents and directed him to stop the movement of the funds and at the same time placed a stop order instruction on the funds pending when your views and comments are received with regards to this matter.
Please study the attached photograph and call me urgently for your comments which will be highly appreciated, but we will not hesitate to continue the payment transmission to them if no response comes from you. and you are advice to send the requested charges of $39 dollars today so that we can obtain the affidevit of onwership on your behalf.we can send you your Atm-Card as soon as possible, we want you to know that our bank is willing to help you at this point only as soon as you can comply by today and i promise that your Atm card will be at your door step by today without any further delay again. Please you are advice to comply as soon as possible so that you can get your Atm card before today runs out.
I want you to know that there is no tim to waist you have to understand and send the requested fee of $39 dollars to obtain the affidevit of onwership
without any delay so that your Atm card will be at your Door step within today. I want to give you your PIN number: 0411, when you are sending the
information to pickup the money, you are advice to send the PIN number: 0411, with your home address were you want to receive your Atm card and direct telephone number. Send the money via western union or money gram with this informations.
Receiver's Name: Sampson Akushie
Text Question: What for?
Country:--- Benin Republic
Amount: $39 dollars
As soon as you send the money today, please you have to call me or you email me the MTCN, immediately as your silence will be a clear indication that you authorised them to effect the above changes .
SEND THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION :
1. FULL NAME
2. PHONE AND FAX NUMBER
3. YOUR ADDRESS
4. YOUR AGE AND CURRENT OCCUPATION
5. A COPY OF YOUR IDENTIFICATION
Please I will be waiting for your reply now so that we can finalize every things by today.without you dont send this fee to provide you the Affidavit
of Ownership Certificate for the releasement of your package today, you may loose your Atm card if you dont send this money by today. so please note that this fee is the total fee that you have to send to receive your card before the next 24hours.
Waiting to hear from you soon.
Mr. Williams Peter.