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:
- "foreign remittance manager" (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)
- "million us 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)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- 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: "Dr Boni George" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2013 15:22:44 -0600
Subject: FUND RELEASE
Dear Valued Customer.
The management of UNITED BANK OF AFRICA (BIACASH ATM CARD) wish to inform you that your outstanding Compensation funds valued of $3.5 Million Us Dollars has been approved for release by the authority of Ministry of Finance Republic of Benin at the alliance with United Nations Debt Review Panel Francophone Quarter. UBA Bank master card payment we be issuing to you under the UNITED BANK OF AFRICAN BRANCH HERE.
The Card Center will be sending your ATM Card which was made to be using only for American account holder to withdraw your money from any ATM Machine or banks in any part of the World. You will be allowed to withdraw a maximum of $18.000.00 Eighteen Thousand United States Dollars daily bases.
Therefore you are required to forward to us your delivery contact address where you want your ATM Card to be sent to you.
You are advice to provide the following information.
We wait to receive the information from you. Once our bank received your delivery address, we will issued and affect the delivery of your ATM Card to you without any further delay.
Dr Boni George
Foreign Remittance Manager and
UBA Bank Master Card Department
Hotline: +229 6829 1592 (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)