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 card department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "swift card payment center" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "card center will send you an atm card" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- ",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)
- "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)
- "foreign payment department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- 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: "MR.STEPHEN HOFFMAN" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "MR.STEPHEN HOFFMAN" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2014 04:01:57 +0900 (JST)
Subject: ATTENTION : ATM MASTER CARD OWNER,
DIRECTOR ATM CARD DEPARTMENT
ZENITH BANK PLC
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN WEST AFRICA.
OUR REF:Z.B./MF/B01/Vol 01
ATTENTION : ATM MASTER CARD OWNER,
WE HERE BY NOTIFYING YOU THAT ZENITH BANK PLC HAVE BEEN MANDATED TO ISSUE OUT YOUR PAYMENT OF $4,500,000.00 USD THROUGH ATM CARD. YOU HAVE TO STOP FURTHER COMMUNICATION WITH ANY OTHER PERSON(S) OR OFFICE(S) OR MINISTRY OF FINANCE AFRICA TO AVOID HITCHES IN RECEIVING YOUR ATM CARD PAYMENT.
ZENITH BANK MANAGER HAVE CONFIRMED AUTOMATION OF YOUR SWIFT PAYMENT THROUGH AN ELECTRONIC ATM CARD PAYMENT. THE BANK HAVE ARRANGED YOUR PAYMENT THROUGH SWIFT CARD PAYMENT CENTER ASIA PACIFIC THIS CARD CENTER WILL SEND YOU AN ATM CARD WHICH YOU WILL USE TO WITHDRAW YOUR MONEY IN ANY ATM MACHINE IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD . THE MAXIMUM DAILY WITHDRAWAL IS $5,000USD PER DAY. A TOTAL OF $5,000USD AT A TIME . NOW YOU ARE TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR FUND BY CONTACTING THE BANK TODAY. THIS IS A SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT IN COLLABORATION WITH MASTER CARD COMPANY USA.
KINDLY CONTACT THE BELOW PERSON WHO IS IN POSITION TO RELEASE YOUR ATM PAYMENT CARD TO YOU. YOU ARE REQUESTED TO FORWARD TO DR.MORRIS UBA:
FOR IMMEDIATE MAILING OF THE ATM CARD TO YOUR ADDRESS.
CONTACT HON DR.MORRIS LUCAS WITH THIS INFORMATION:
HON DR.MORRIS LUCAS
FOREIGN PAYMENT DEPARTMENT
ZENITH BANK BENIN REPUBLIC
NOTE THAT BECAUSE OF IMPOSTORS THE (ZENITH BANK) HEREBY ISSUED YOU OUR CODE OF CONDUCT WHICH IS ATM-0212 SO YOU HAVE TO INDICATE THIS CODE WHEN CONTACTING DR.MORRIS UBA ON THE CARD CENTER BY USING IT AS YOUR SUBJECT. KINDLY NOTIFY (ZENITH BANK) IMMEDIATELY TO CONFIRM THE RECEIPT OF THIS MASSAGE FROM THE ZENITH BANK PLC.
HEAD OF ATM DEPT
(ZENITH BANK) BENIN