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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (163; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. James Miller" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:26:58 -0700
Subject: Contact Mark Trevor For Your ATM Card(US$6.5Ml)
IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT ORDER VIA ATM CARD.
We have been authorized by the newly appointed United Nation secretary
general, and the governing body of the UNITED NATIONS Monetary Unit,
to investigate the unnecessary delay on your payment, recommended and
approved in your favor. During the course of our investigation, we
discovered with dismay that your payment has been unnecessarily
Delayed by corrupt officials of the Bank who are Trying to divert your
funds into their private accounts.
To forestall this, security for your funds was organized in the form
of your personal Identification number (PIN) ATM CARD and this will
enable only you to have direct Control over your funds in the ATM
CARD. We will monitor this payment ourselves to avoid the hopeless
situation created by the Officials of the bank.
An irrevocable payment guarantee has been issued by the World Bank
Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on your Payment.
However, we are happy to inform you that based on our
recommendation/Instructions; your complete Inheritance funds have been
credited in your favor through ATM VISA CARD.
Now your payment will be sent to you by ATM card that will be coming
alongside a custom pin which you will use to withdraw up to $3,500 per
day from any ATM machine. Also with the ATM card you will be able to
transfer your funds to your bank account, because the ATM card will be
registered with Inter switch. The ATM card comes with a handbook or
manual to enlighten you about how to use it, the ATM card will be
sent to you via FedEx.
Note: Everything that will impede the process of transfer has been
taken care of to effect the release of your fund valued at $6.5Mn. You
are therefore advised to contact the director of FedEx and delivery
officer Mr. Mark Trevor with the information below;
+229 6605 4044
You will be required to provide him with the following information for
the shipping of your ATM card parcel:
Your full Name:.....................
Also note that you will be required to pay the sum of $195.00 to FedEx
for the Customs Duty Tag of your parcel. You will receive the tracking
details from FedEx after you have sent the fee to them.
Mr. James Miller