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:
- "atm card department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "swift card payment center" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "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)
- "million 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "FINANCIAL BANK" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 19:00:48 -0700
Subject: FILE REVISION REVEALED YOUR INHERITANCE FUNDS
NOW WE HAVE ARRANGED YOUR PAYMENT OF ($6.5Million USD)UNITED STATES DOLLARS THROUGH SWIFT CARD PAYMENT CENTER ASIA PACIFIC,THIS DEPARTMENT WILL SEND YOU AN ATM CARD,WHICH YOU WILL USE TO WITHDRAW YOUR MONEY IN ANY ATM MACHINE IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD, BUT THE MAXIMUM IS TEN THOUSAND, UNITED STATES DOLLARS PER DAY UNTIL YOUR FUNDS OF $6.5Million DOLLARS WILL FINSHED THE ATM CARD YOU WILL USE IT TO WITHDRAW YOUR MONEY EVERY DAY,SO IF YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE YOUR FUND IN THIS WAY,PLEASE LET ME KNOW BY CONTACTING ATM CARD DEPARTMENT CENTER FOR THE RELEASE YOUR ATM CARD TO YOU AND ALSO SEND THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AS LISTED BELOW.
1.YOUR FULL NAME
2.YOUR HOME ADDRESS.
4.YOUR CURRENT HOME TELEPHONE NUMBER.
5.YOUR CURRENT OFFICE TELEPHONE.
6.A COPY OF YOUR PICTURE
Primary SIC: National Commercial Bank
Primary NAICS: Commercial Banking
Description: Finance Banking
This is to bring to your notice that during the audit and file revision of this bank in the fiscal year 2011 ended, a total sum of seven million united state dollars was discovered in this bank in your name as the beneficiary. This fund was deposited by our late customer Dr. George Brumley and have you as apparent heir to it. You are therefore by this notice required to provide this bank with your personal and banking data to enable us process and release the said fund to you.
We shall anticipate your quick response.