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:
- "demurrage " (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. )
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "cheque " (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. )
- "email@example.com" (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Superposta; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Peter Okay" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 17:15:33 +0000
Subject: CONTACTING THE ATM CARD CENTER FOR YOUR PAYMENT
Ref: Attention: Dear Customer.
How are you? hope all is well with you and your family.I know that you might have forgotten about this your outstanding fund due to our mistake to delay the delivery up till now.I am writing to inform you that your file was found in our office today and we discovered that your cheque of $4.5 Million united state dollars have not been sent to you as it was instructed by our late boss Mrs. Victoria Crawford.
We are very sorry for the mistake and the delay, please bear with us because the fault is from our former secretary who did not complete the instruction giving by our Boss.My dear, Note that your cheque has been convert into Master ATM Card to free it from Expiring. This is to tell you that the arrangement to deliver to you the $4.5 Million in ATM CARD is concluded today.
Now Your ATM CARD is well packaged with every legal documents to cover it form not having any problem with an
y Office Authority or with your
Federal Government and we have deposit your ATM Card with the conclusion to deliver it to your home as soon as you contact them with you current information.
1. Your Full name,________________
2. Your home Address,______________
3. Your current telephone number,______
4. A copy of your picture,_____________
5. Your age/sex,____________________
6. Your country,____________________
7. Your occupation,__________________
For your Information, We have paid for the delivery charges. Therefore you should please contact them now to avoid additional cost of demurrage , after 3days, it should be counting on demurrage.Therefore you should contact them immediately to avoid paying any demurrage or keeping fees to them ok, I deposited it Yesterday.My dear, you should
contact the ATM Center Director on this below
Contact Person; Rev Mike James
Tele Phone Number; +229 98 89 97 10 Please try to call him immediately to know when Your ATM CARD could be deliver to you.I wait for your update as soon as you have receive your ATM CARD Package.
Thanks and God Bless You.