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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- 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. )
- "insurance 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. )
- ",500,000" (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)
- "diplomatic delivery" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "ZENITH BANK PLC" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Apr 2013 03:58:34 -0700
Subject: URGENT NOTIFICATION OF YOUR ATM MASTER CARD
ZENITH BANK INTERNATIONAL
zenith HeightsPlot 87 Ajose Adeogun Street,
Attn: Fund Owner,
This is to inform you that I found your ATM CARD without re-activation in our office, I just paid the re-activation fees and send it to the ROYALMAIL DIPLOMATIC DELIVERY SERVICE office to deliver it to your home address in other to meet up cashless money all over the world, the ATM CARD 8119 worth $3,500,000,00 USA has less than Two Months to expire and if expired the money will go into our government treasury, and that is the reason why I paid the charges because I know when you get your ATM you will definitely pay me back my money and even compensate me.
Note that after receiving your ATM you will also receive official form that you will fill for Online Banking to become our customer at ZENITH BANK every where in the Global World; You need to ensure that you comply with the delivery company to enable them deliver your Atm Visa Card to your home address.
It will interest you to know that after I have paid the charges for the Re-activation of the ATM CARD, your card have been Re-activated and it will remain valid from now till 2015 before it will be expire. Now I want you to contact ROYALMAIL DIPLOMATIC DELIVERY SERVICE with your Full Contact information so that they can deliver your Card to your designated address without any delay. Like i stated earlier, The delivery charges has been paid but i did not pay Insurance fee since they refused because that must be paid by the rightful owner to the Parcel, and the reason is that they do not know when you are going to contact them and dumurrage might have increased.
They told me that their Insurance fee is $250usd and once you pay the fee your ATM VISA CARD will be insured to be delivered without any hitch. Contact the RoyalMail Diplomatic Delivery Service below their contact information for the delivery of your fund and remember to request for the name and address of where you will send them the needed insurance fee to enable them spring into action and deliver your ATM VISA CARD to you.
Contact Person: Mr. John Mike
RoyalMail Diplomatic Delivery Service
Contact them Today to avoid increase of their Insurance fee and let me know once you receive your Card so that you will receive form to become our customer.
ZENITH BANK INTERNATIONAL