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:
- "clearance document" (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. )
- "diplomatic agent" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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: UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA PLC. <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 10:28:36 +0100
Subject: YOUR ATM CARD & DOCUMENTS SHIPMENT UPDATE
UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA PLC.
HEAD OFFICE: U. B. A. HOUSE,
57, MARINA STREET, VICTORIA ISLAND
P. O. BOX 2406, LAGOS- NIGERIA.
FROM: CUSTOMER SERVICES DEPARTMENT
UBA HEAD OFFICE, UBA HOUSE LAGOS - NIGERIA.
OFFICE LINE: +234 1 7761197
OFFICE LINE: +2347046055953
Fax: +234 1 2270491
BANK'S WEBSITE: www.ubagroup.com
REF.: UBA/222/XCC/CSOFFICE/2014 DATE: 22/09/2014
Dear Esteemed Customer,
I am writing to inform you that, our Diplomatic agents with the United Parcels Services (UPS Inc.) Mr. David Blaine and Gina De-Gualle has picked up from our Bank's customer services this Monday morning your parcel containing your ATM MasterCard, all your account documents and clearance documents for delivery to your residence.
Can you make a trip to: Poland Ohio or Reno Nevada or Massachusetts to claim your parcel from them?
The items contained in your parcel are viz:
* ATM MasterCard
* E-Payment documents
* An access to U-Direct to view credit balance, to make transfers
* Interest can be paid on account credit balance
* Monthly statements of account
* Standing order instructions
* Access to internet and mobile banking
* Access to retail credit product.
* Convenience to the customer.
* Check book issued for the account U-Direct current account. The Cheque and cash withdrawal is subject to 0.5% charge.
* Interest payable on FCDA account credit balance subject account balance of US$1,000 or its equivalent.
* Security of the customer's funds and account.
* Online real-time transfer of funds to a beneficiary.
* Zero Risk to the customer in comparison to other traditional banking channels.
NOTE: As soon as you receive our ATM MasterCard, E-Payment document which contains your account password/PIN code, open the sealed E-Payment document for your validated password to eneble you activate and have access to our U-Direct Online banking system to your US dollar U-Direct the Lion Prime account is through our website: https://www.ubadirect.com:
Account Number/Corp. ID: 2012301293
User ID: UBA234766876
If you cannot make any trip to these any of these places: Poland Ohio or Reno Nevada or Massachusetts and to avoid you making a trip to any of these places to claim your parcel as he not authorized to ship the parcel rather than deliver directly to your residence, you are hereby advised to send quickly the sum of US$150.00 in the name of:
ADDRESS IT TO LAGOS NIGERIA.
Thanks for your anticipated co-operation as I await your confirmation.
For the Management, United Bank for Africa Plc, the Africa's Global bank, congratulation.
Mrs. Grace N. Obi
General Manager, Customer Services Dept.
United Bank for Africa Plc. (UBA)