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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "mtcn" (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. )
- ",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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 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.
- +447045781650 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: Hon David Cameron MP <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 02:56:14 +1200 (NZST)
Subject: ATM VISA CARD
Our ref: ATM/13470/IDR
Your ref:Date: 23/10/2012
I am The Rt Hon David Cameron MP,Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service British Government. This letter is to officially inform you that (Visa/ATM Master Card Number 7302 7168 0041 0640) has been accredited in your favor. Your Personal Identification Number is 1090.The ATM Master card Value is £2,000,000.00(Two Million, Great British Pounds Sterling).
This office will send you a Visa/ATM Master card that you will use to withdraw your funds in any ATM MACHINE CENTER or Visa card outlet in the world with a maximum of £5000 GBP daily.Further more,You will be required to re-confirm the following information to enable;The Rt Hon William Hague MP First Secretary of State for British Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. begin in processing of your VISA/ATM Master CARD.
(8) Post Codes
Rt Hon William Hague
First Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Email: (email@example.com) Phone: +447 045 781 650,
Note you only need to send sum of USD$90 for the shipping fee of your atm visa card to you to Hon William Hague and your ATM VISA CARD will deliver to you within 24h
USE THIS INFORMATION SEND THE SHIPPING FEE OF THE USD$90 today.
Receiver Name OBI LAWRENCE
Address C/B 312 City Cotonou Country Benin Republic
Text Question How long?
Awaiting for the MTCN:::
TAKE NOTICE: That you are warned to stop further communications with any other person(s) or office(s) different from the staff of the State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to avoid hitches in receiving your payment.
The Rt Hon David Cameron MP