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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "contact the atm card center" (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. )
- "moneygram" (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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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.
- 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.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a 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: "JAMES B. COMEY" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2014 03:01:28 -0400
Subject: Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Counter-terrorism Division and Cyber Crime Division
J. Edgar. Hoover Building Washington DC
JAMES B. COMEY,
Records show that you are among one of the individuals and organizations who are yet to receive their overdue payment from overseas which includes those of
Lottery/Gambling,Contract and Inheritance. Through our Fraud Monitory Unit we have noticed that you have been transacting with some impostors and fraudsters who have
been impersonating the likes of Prof. Soludo/Mr.Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Bode Williams, Frank, Anderson, none officials of
Oceanic Bank, Zenith Banks, Kelvin Young of HSBC, Ben of FedEx, Ibrahim Sule, Dr. Usman Shamsuddeen and some impostors claiming to be The Federal Bureau of
The Cyber Crime Division of the FBI gathered information from the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) on how some people have lost outrageous sums of money to these
impostors. As a result of this, we hereby advise you to stop communication with any one not referred to you by us. We have negotiated with the Federal Ministry of
Finance that your payment totaling $5,900,000.00(Five Million Nine Hundred Thousand Dollars). will be released to you via a custom pin based ATM card with a maximum
withdrawal limit of $15,000 a day which is powered by Visa Card and can be used anywhere in the world where you see a Visa Card Logo on the Automatic Teller Machine
To redeem your funds, you are hereby advised to contact the ATM Card Center via email for their requirement to proceed and procure your Approval of Payment Warrant and
Endorsement of your ATM Release Order on your behalf which will cost you $200 Usd only and nothing more as everything else has been taken care of by the Federal
Government including taxes, custom paper and clearance duty so all you will ever need to pay is $200.00 only.
Mr. Alex Martins. (ATM Card Center Director)
Central Bank of Nigeria
Central Business District,
Cad astral Zone, federal
ATM Card Center Director Mr. Alex Martins.
Do contact Mr. Alex Martins. of the ATM Card Center via his contact details above and furnish him with your details as listed below:
FULL NAMES: __________________________________
DELIVERY ADDRESS FOR ATM CARD: __________________
DATE OF BIRTH: __________________
TELEPHONE NUMBER: _____________________
EMAIL ADDRESS: _____________________
On contacting him with your details your file would be updated and he will be sending you the payment information in which you will use in making payment of $200.00
via MoneyGram or Western Union Money Transfer for the procurement of your Approval of Payment Warrant and Endorsement of your ATM Release Order, after which the
delivery of your ATM card will be effected to your designated home address without any further delay, extra fee.
JAMES B. COMEY,
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535
Phone Number: +1 (646) 776-55
Note: Disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices claiming to be in possession of your ATM card, you are hereby advice only to be in contact with Martin
Wood of the ATM card center who is the rightful person to deal with in regards to your payment and forward any emails you get from impostors to this office so we could
act upon it immediately. Help stop cyber crime