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:
- "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)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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.
- 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: United Nation Organization <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2012 18:31:40 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: ATTENTION BENEFICIARY,
Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trust worthiness you showed at the course of your transaction with some government and claimed government officials. And based on the outcome of the last meeting held with the Benin Government and the officials of the United Nation Organization, UNO and International Monitoring Fund, IMF, we have been instructed to transfer your funds through ATM VISA CARD.
This money has been made available which will be cashed in an Automated Taller Machine and would be cashed through issuance of Inters witch ATM CARD system. We have authorized the Bank, which was nominated to carry out the issuance of your ATM Card never to have any delay in shipping the ATM Card to you.
I wish to use this medium to inform you that your CONTRACT/INHERITANCE Payment of USD$7.5000,000.00 (seven million five hundred thousand us dollars) from BANK OF AFRICA have been RELEASED and APPROVED for onward transfer to you via an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw all the USD$7.5 Million in any ATM SERVICE MACHINE in any part of the world, but the maximum you can withdraw USD$7,500.00 ( Seven Thousand Five Hundred United States' Dollars) Per Day You are therefore advice to contact the Bank of Africa , ATM VISA CARD DEPARTMENT.
CENTRAL BANK OF AFRICA.
Contact Person: Reverend Ben Daniel
Tell Reverend Ben Daniel, that you received a message from United Nation Organization. Instructing him to send you the ATM CARD and PIN NUMBER which you will use to withdraw your USD$7.5 Million Dollars in any ATM SERVICE MACHINE in any part of the world also send him your direct phone number and contact address where you want him to send the ATM CARD and PIN NUMBER to you.
Finally, remember that I have forwarded instruction to the Executive Director of the bank on your behalf to look into your file as soon as you contact them without delay.
We are very sorry for the plight you have gone through in the past. Thanks for adhering to this instruction and once again accept our congratulations.
United Nation Organization