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:
- "express courier delivery" (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. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Patrick Lawson" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 07:42:56 -0500
Subject: Reference to your payment
Attn: Aqualvia Reedy
IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT ORDER VIA ATM CARD.
This is to inform you that We have been authorized by the United Nation
secretary general Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, and the governing body of the UN
Monetary Unit, to investigate the unnecessary delay on your payment,as
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 measures has been taken concerning your funds
as organized in 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 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
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 $5000 per day
from any ATM machine anywhere in the world.
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 3days express courier
Note: Everything that will impede the process of delivering your fund
valued at $12.5M. via ATM Visa Card has been taken care of. You are
therefore advised to contact the director of the accredited Courier
Company/delivery officer Mr. Godwin Okonkwo with the information below,
for your payment.
Mr. Godwin Okonkwo
You will be required to provide him with the following information for the
shipment of your ATM card:
Your full Name:.....................
Also note that you will be required to pay the sum of $195.00 to the
courier company for the Customs Duty Tag of your parcel. You will receive
the tracking details after you have sent the fee to them.