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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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. )
- "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. )
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- 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 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "ATM CARD CENTER" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2014 22:45:08 +0200
Subject: YOUR ATM CARD PACKAGE
This is to Officially inform you that the reason why you have not
received your payment from us is because you have not fulfilled your
Financial Obligation given to you in respect of your
Therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry Of Finance on your
behalf and they have brought a solution to your problem by coordinating
your payment in total USD$5.5million in an ATM CARD which you can use
to withdraw money from any ATM MACHINE CENTER anywhere in the world
with a maximum of $10,000 United States Dollars daily.
Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved in this
transaction, you have to be rest assured for this is 100% risk free it
is our duty to protect the American And Citizens Over the World. All I
want you to do is to contact the ATM CARD CENTER via email for their
requirements to proceed and procure your Approval Slip on your behalf
which will cost you $360 only. BEEN INFORM YOU WILL PAY THIS $360
IMMEDIATELY you contact, for the procurement of your
Approval Slip and delivery of your ATM CARD.
FULL NAME: ______________
HOME ADDRESS: __________
CURRENT OCCUPATION: ___
PHONE NUMBER: __________
BANK NAME: ______________
The Payment of $360 via Western Union Money Transfer or Money Gram
Transfer is for the procurement of your Approval Slip after which the
delivery of your ATM CARD will be effected to your designated home
address without any further delay.
We order you get back to this office after you have contacted the ATM
SWIFT CARD CENTER and we do await your response so we can move on with
our Investigation and make sure your ATM SWIFT CARD gets to you.
Thanks and hope to read from you soon.
Reply to email@example.com
Mr David James