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:
- "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. )
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address looks like addresses used in "ATM SWIFT card" scams)
- 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: "MRS.INGA BRITT AHLEN" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2011 22:27:53 +0100 (BST)
Subject: URGENTLY CALL MR.PAUL DAVIS FOR YOUR $2.5MILLION US DOLLARS,
MY DEAR, GOOD DAY,
IN RESPECT WITH THE PROVISION ACT OF DECREE 114 OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION, I AM DIRECTED TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR PAYMENT VERIFICATION AND CONFIRMATIONS IS OK, THEREFORE, WE ARE HAPPY TO INFORM YOU THAT ARRANGEMENTS HAS BEEN CONCLUDED TO EFFECT YOUR PAYMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND IN OUR BID TO TRANSPARENCY,IT IS OUR PLEASURE TO INFORM YOU THAT ATM CARD NUMBER: 4000 1010257172299 HAS BEEN APPROVED AND UPGRADED IN YOUR FAVOR . YOUR SECRET PIN NUMBER IS 8342. THE ATM CARD VALUE IS $2.5M USD ONLY.
YOU ARE ADVISED THAT A MAXIMUM WITHDRAWAL VALUE OF $20,000.00 USD IS PERMITTED AND WE ARE DULY INTER SWITCHED AND YOU CAN MAKE WITHDRAWAL IN ANY LOCATION AND ATM CENTER OF YOUR CHOICE. WE HAVE CONCLUDED DELIVERY ARRANGEMENT WITH COURIER SERVICE, COURIER COMPANY TO BE FULLY INSURED BY NICON INSURANCE CORPORATION. IN VIEW OF THIS DEVELOPMENT, YOU ARE REQUESTED TO IMMEDIATELY OFFSET THE COURIER AND INSURANCE CHARGES OF $125 USD THROUGH THE COMPANY GIVEN PAYMENT INSTRUCTION AS FOLLOWS WITH ADDRESS OF SENDER AND AMOUNT ALSO MTCN OF TRANSFER IS REQUIRED TO ENABLE THE RECEIVING COMPANY INSURE AND DELIVER THE CARD TO YOUR ADDRESS;
NAME :.MSR.GEORGE UZOMA
TEST QUESTION: WHAT?
SEND THE TRANSFER NUMBER TO THIS OFFICE FOR FURTHER ACTION. BE INFORMED THAT DELIVERY WILL BE MADE TO YOUR ADDRESS IN 48 HOURS AFTER OUR CONFIRMATION OF THIS PAYMENT FOR DELIVERY, AS YOU KNOW THAT THE DELIVERY FEE RECEIPT WILL BE USED TO ATTACH ON YOUR PAYMENT DELIVERY DOCUMENTS TO AVOID BEING DELAY BY THE CUSTOMS.
ADVICE THIS OFFICE YOUR PREFFERED TIME OF VISITATION TO DELIVERY AND BE INFORMED THAT YOUR VALID ID CARD MUST BE PRESENTED TO THE DISPATCHERS BEFORE RELEASE WILL BE DONE. TAKE NOTE.
TREAT VERY URGENTLY AS WE ALSO REMIND YOU THAT YOU,RE ATM CARD IS READY.
MRS.INGA BRITT AHLEN
MY CELL PHONE +229997850047