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:
- "atm card department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Frank Robert <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Frank Robert <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 08:41:15 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Payment Notification.
NOTICE OF ATM CARD ACCREDITATION.
WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?. I RECEIVED A REPORT TODAY FROM MR. JAMES KELVIN, THE DIRECTOR ATM CARD DEPARTMENT ZENITH BANK PLC, INDICATING YOUR UNWILLINGNESS TO CLAIM YOUR INHERITANCE FUNDS.
IT IS AS RESULT OF COMPLAINS AND COMPLICATION I RECEIVED FROM YOU CONTRACTORS/INHERITANCE BENEFICIARY REGARDING YOUR OUTSTANDING CONTRACT/INHERITANCE PAYMENT WITH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA THAT MADE ME TO APPOINT THIS TRUSTED MAN OF GOD, THROUGH HIS HONEST AND GOD FEARING PERSON TO RELEASE YOUR CONTRACT/INHERITANCE FUNDS IN MORE CONVENIENT MODE.
BE INFORMED THAT YOU HAVE ONLY 48 HOURS TO COMPLY WITH THIS INSTRUCTION, IF YOU DELAY I WILL CANCEL YOUR PAYMENT FINALLY.
YOU ARE ONLY ADVISED TO CONTACT MR. JAMES KELVIN, THE DIRECTOR ATM CARD DEPARTMENT ZENITH BANK PLC ON THIS EMAIL: (email@example.com) WITH THIS FOLLOWING INFORMATION FOR THE RELEASE OF YOUR APPROVE FUND OF FIVE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS (US$5,000,000.00).
FULL NAME: __________
DELIVERY ADDRESS: __________
YOUR DIRECT TELEPHONE NUMBER: __________
MR. FRANK ROBERT
CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE ON ATM CARD PAYMENT
ZENITH BANK PLC.