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:
- "activation fee" (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. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states 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)
- ",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)
- "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)
- "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)
- 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: "MRS.KATE FOX" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2012 21:14:58 -0500
Subject: ********IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT ORDER VIA ATM CARD*******
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION MOVEMENT
1775 K ST NW # 400 WASHINGTON D.C, 20006-1500,
********IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT ORDER VIA ATM CARD*******
Dear Email Owner/Fund Beneficiary,
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. We are happy to inform you that based on our recommendation your complete Winning/Inheritance funds have been credited in your favor through ATM master CARD. You are therefore advice to contact Mr. Joseph Pen in (Malaysia) for the delivery of your Card:
Contact Person: Mr. Joseph Pen
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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, So if you like to receive your funds through this means you're advised to contact Mr. Joseph Pen. with the following information as stated below: Note you will have to pay him $450 for the Activation fee of your ATM CARD.
1. Your Full Name:
3. Cell/Mobile Number:
NOTE: You are advised to furnish Mr. Joseph Pen. with $450 and also your correct and valid details. Also be informed that the amount to be paid to you is $1,000,000.00 (One Million United States Dollars Only). We expect your urgent response to this E-mail to enable us monitor this payment effectively thereby making contact with Mr. Joseph Pen. as directed to avoid further delay.
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL,