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:
- "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: "Mrs. Johnson Ben" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mrs. Johnson Ben" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2014 08:52:34 -0500 (CST)
Subject: ATM cash Card Valued at $3.5m USD only
We officially want to inform you that an ATM cash Card Valued at $3.5m USD only has been accredited in your favor by the Benin ATM cash Card Organization, Republic of Benin. The ATM Card has a daily withdrawal limit of $10,000.00 USD Per Day from any ATM Card machine in your country. You are advised to contact Mr. Peter Uba via this email for claim processing:
Mr. Peter Uba
Executive,Committee On ATM cash Card Payment.
Phone: +229 66446652
Note arrangement can also be made in transferring of the awarded fund ($3.5m USD) to your personal bank account OR delivering of your ATM cash Card to your contact address. Please provide the following details for processing to Mr. Peter Uba:
1) Delivery of ATM Card by courier : Yes/No
2) Bank to bank Transfer: Yes/No
Once again congratulation.
Mrs. Johnson Ben