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:
- "atm payment department" (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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- ",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)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Chima Uba" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:04:47 -0200
Subject: United Bank For Africa (U.B.A)Good n
United Bank For Africa (U.B.A)
Plot 57, Marina, P. O. Box 2406, Lagos State, Nigeria.
Fund Approved Payment Department.
Welcome To United Bank For Africa.
Sir/Madam I am writing to bring this to your knowledge your payment file has been reviewed and you are eligible to receiving a due total payment of $8,500,000 (Eight Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States
Dollar). We have issued an ATM Inter switch Visa card in your name and it has been credited with a sum of Eight Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollar. You will be required to default the 4 digit
secret pin of this card to your new desired pin, this can be easily done on any ATM machine around the Global world that bears the VISA Card Logo, this is to get your card fully functional. The card will also grant you access
to your fund at any time on your convenience time. Please be informed that the ATM card must be delivered in company of an administrative letter of indemnity from the office of the United States Consulate General .meanwhile
be advised to Include your Receiving Mailing Address /Name and contact Telephone and Zip code is very Vital.
for your Information UPS, D.H.L & FedEx has been contracted for delivery of your card, and we advised you to choose the service more convenient for you to receive your ATM card. We listed the cost of each service with added
Delivery Charges through UPS: $190.00 (this requires to be Insured to Avoid Interception it Cost $120.00 Total: $310.00
Cost of Delivery through FEDEX $170.00 (its requires to be Insured to Avoid Interception it cost $110.00
Delivery Charges through D.H.L: $120.00 (its requires to be Insured to Avoid Interception it cost $130.00 Total: $250.00
so Kindly choose from the option giving to you and also remit the total
charge through Money Gram or Western Union with the details below its our
Account Clark Viz:
Receivers Name: MONYE AUSTINE,
Test Q: HOW ARE YOU?,
Test Ans: FINE
as soon as we confirmed the payment, we Guaranteed you 100% Speed Post and will contact you with other details within 48Hrs it must be received and confirmed by you as the Courier delivery Van of your Choice Option will Definitely Visit your Home to Hand over the Parcel to your Door Steps.
I await your swift response.
Mr. Chima Uba.
Head, Foreign Operations/ATM Payment Department
United Bank for Africa.