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:
- "atm payment department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: "MR. KASSYM-JOMART TOKAYEV" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2012 08:18:24 -0600
Subject: IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT ORDER VIA ATM CARD.
UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION
PALAIS DES NATIONS, 1211 GENEVA 10,
Dear Email Owner/Fund Beneficiary,
IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT ORDER VIA ATM CARD
We have actually been authorized by the newly appointed United Nation
secretary general, and the governing body of the UNITED NATIONS
Monetary Unit, to investigate the unnecessary delay on your payment,
recommended and approved in your favor. During the course of our
investigation, we discovered with dismay that your payment has been
unnecessarily Delayed by corrupt officials of the Bank who are Trying
to divert your funds into their private accounts.
To forestall this, security for your funds was organized in the form
of your personal Identification number (PIN) ATM CARD and this will
enable only you to have direct Control over your funds in the ATM
CARD. We will monitor this payment ourselves to avoid the hopeless
situation created by the Officials of the bank.
An irrevocable payment guarantee has been issued by the World Bank
Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on your Payment.
However, we are happy to inform you that based on our
recommendation/Instructions; your complete Inheritance funds have been
credited in your favor through ATM VISA CARD.
You are therefore advice to contact:
Mr. Victor Moses.
Director ATM Payment Department
(Royal Bank of Scotland Africa)
Email Address: email@example.com
Direct Office lines: +234-813-611-8646
Contact him now for the delivery of your ATM Card. As soon as you
establish a contact with him, an ATM card will be issued to you
immediately which you can use to withdraw your funds in any Bank ATM
Machine in your Country, but the maximum is $2,500 USD per day. So if
you like to receive your funds through this means you're advised to
contact (Mr. Victor Moses) with the following information as stated
1. Your Full Name:
2. Address Where You Want the Courier Company to Send Your ATM Card
To or (P.O Box)
3. Your Age:
5. Telephone Numbers:
NOTE: You are advised to furnish Mr. Victor Moses with your correct
and valid details. Also be informed that the amount to be paid to you
is Ð3,000,000,00GBP. We expect your urgent response to this email to
enable us monitor this payment effectively thereby making contact with
MR. VICTOR MOSES as directed to avoid further delay.
MR. KASSYM-JOMART TOKAYEV