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:
- "atm payment department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "western union" (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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "accredited attorney" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (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.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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: "CENTRAL BANK" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 19 May 2013 04:19:58 -0400
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF OPERATION
INTERNATIONAL CREDIT SETTLEMENT,
ATM PAYMENT DEPARTMENT (CBN)
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA.
Dear Honorable beneficiary.
With respect to the provision Section 17 of decree 114 of the 1999 constitution, I was directed to inform you that your payment verification and confirmations is "OK". Therefore, we are happy to inform you that arrangements has perfectly concluded to effect your payment as soon as possible in our bid to be transparent inline with programmed of the present administration of DR GOOD LUCK JONATHAN, President and Commander in chief Of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his crusade against corruption in Nigeria.
However, it is our pleasure to inform you that ATM Card Number; 8177194400227687 has been approved and upgraded in your favor. Meanwhile, your Secret Pin Number is 7991. The ATM Card Value is $2.5 Million USD Only as part payment. You are advised that a maximum withdrawal value of US$25,000.00 is permitted daily. And we are duly inter-switched and you can make withdrawal in any location of the ATM Center of your choice/nearest to you. We have also concluded delivery arrangement with our accredited courier service Company to be fully insured by Nicon Insurance Corporation (NICON) to oversee the delivery of the ATM Card to you without any further delay.
Note your ATM Card cannot be changed unless it was wrongly presented. Take note. In view of this development, you are requested to offset the Courier and Insurance charges of $429 (Four hundred and twenty nine united state dollar) via Western Union or Money Gram money transfer to the name of our accredited attorney first name:Uzodimma, last name: Eze, (Uzodimma Eze) Address: Abuja Nigeria .Text Question: Table? Text Answer: Chair. Please send the Western Union or Money Gram MCTN Number to enable us deliver your parcel accordingly. Be informed that delivery will be made to your given address within 48 hours of our confirmation of this payment.
Furthermore, be aware that the delivery fee receipt will be attached to your payment delivery documents to avoid being delayed by the customs. Advice this office of your preferred time of visitation to delivery so that we can inform the courier service Company. And be informed that your valid I.D card must be presented to the dispatchers before release will be done to you to avoid wrong delivery. Please send your I.D via attachment. Treat as very urgent, as we also remind you once again that your ATM Card is ready.