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:
- 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:
- "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. )
- "certified bank draft" (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. )
- 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: "W U BANK" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 20:30:05 -0500
Subject: Card Number: 5221236454000080
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION
OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIR.
I am directed to inform you that your payment verification and confirmations
are correct, therefore we are happy to inform you that arrangements have been
concluded to effect your payment as soon as possible Due to your long over-due
payment which you have been finding it difficult to receive via a Certified
Bank Draft issued by the UN Promo, we have arranged your payment through
OCEANIC Bank ATM Card Payment Center, this is an instruction passed by the United
Nations in respect to all over delayed payment and debt re-scheduling.
We will send you an International Swift ATM Card that has been approved in
your favour with Card Number: 5221236454000080, with valued sum of $2.500,000
USD (Two Million And Five Hundred Thousand USD Only), which you are to use in
accessing your fund in any ATM Stand/location worldwide and remember that the
maximum withdrawal daily limit is Five Thousand United States Dollars
(US$5,000.00). We have concluded delivery arrangement with the TNT courier
services. Please note that the TNT Courier Company is fully insured by Nicon
Kindly provide the details below for delivery.
1. Valid Delivery Address.................
2. Full Names.............................
3. Phone Number...........................
4. Other Email............................
7. Date of birth..........................
Please do confirm that you will take responsibility for the cost of delivery
($250), so that i will know how to proceed with you. Please be informed that
the delivery will be made to your address in 48 hours (2 days) after our
confirmation of this payment for delivery, as you know that the delivery fee
receipt will be also attached on your payment delivery documents to avoid your
package being delayed by customs.
Treat urgently and note that your ATM Card is ready and available for dispatch
to you and contact us via email@example.com
Mr Patrick Promise