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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "certified bank draft" (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. )
- "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: "ATM SWIFT PAYMENT" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2013 03:38:57 +0530
Subject: Please Pay Urgent Attention
Please Pay Urgent Attention
I write to notify you officially about the meeting held on the 28th day of December 2012, following the petition we received from United Nations Human Rights Commissions (UNHRC) and the International Arbitration panel over the unnecessary protocols and delay in releasing beneficiaries over due payment. The Minister of Economic and finance has stepped in to work out modalities for an amicable way of making sure that every unclaimed fund is duly released to the beneficiaries without subjecting them to unnecessary extortion of Fees/Charges. This is as a pre-condition of lifting the economic sanction the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has imposed on Benin Republic because of the activities of unscrupulous elements operating in our various paying institutions and also to redeem the good image of Benin Republic among the committee of Nations.
I am happy to inform you that after due verification on your payment file, a total of US$2.5Million which was originally meant to be released to you through a certified bank draft have been converted to a payment via ATM Card, since all the previous attempt to pay you through other methods failed. Your total funds will now be loaded into an ATM Card Inter switch and dispatch to your address through a courier company, for easy withdraw at any ATM Machine Worldwide.
This is an intervention to checkmate the bureaucratic ineptitude and administrative bottleneck most beneficiaries have suffered in the hands of our local bankers and their international allies. Your immediate payment instruction have been forwarded to the Paying Institution (Financial Bank Benin) which was appointed specifically to handle your payment in order to avoid further delay in releasing your payment. You should therefore urgently contact the information below for immediate loading and releasing of your ATM Card. But if the ATM Card method of payment is not acceptable to you, you can indicate in your return mail.
Financial Bank Benin
Head, Card Service Department
Contact Person: Dr. Donald Kalika
Tel: +229 9762 6788
We sincerely apologize on behalf of the federal government for what you have gone through in the hands of the unscrupulous elements, as we are now monitoring the payment exercise to ensure that your interest is duly protected.
MR. CHARLES TOLLIVER
MINISTERE DES FINANCES ET DE L'ECONOMIE
REPUBLIQUE DU BENIN.