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:
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "atm payment department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "atm card department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "swift card payment center" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "card center will send you an atm card" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address looks like addresses used in "ATM SWIFT card" scams)
- 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.
- 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: "MRS. J CLEMENT" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "MRS. J CLEMENT" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2014 10:10:18 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CONTACT ATM MASTER CARD OFFICE, CODE OF CONDUCT (ATM-8411)
Â DEAR FRIEND.
NOW WE HAVE ARRANGED YOUR PAYMENT OF ($5,7M) FIVE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED
THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS THROUGH SWIFT CARD PAYMENT CENTER ASIA
PACIFIC,THIS CARD CENTER WILL SEND YOU AN ATM CARD WHICH YOU WILL USE TO
WITHDRAW YOUR MONEY IN ANY ATM MACHINE IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD, BUT THE
MAXIMUM IS SEVEN THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS PER DAY YOU WILL USE TO
WITHDRAW YOUR MONEY DAY.
SO IF YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE YOUR FUND IN THIS WAY,PLEASE LET ME KNOW BY
CONTACTING ATM CARD DEPARTMENT CENTER FOR THE RELEASE YOUR ATM CARD TO YOUR
AND ALSO SEND THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AS LISTED BELOW.
YOUR FULL NAME.................................
YOUR PHONE NUMBER................
HOWEVER,KINDLY CONTACT THE BELOW PERSON WHO IS IN POSSITION TO RELEASE YOUR
ATM PAYMENT CARD.
CONTACT PERSON: MR.LOUIS ALLEN TELEPHONE NUMBER: +229 98954971
DIRECTOR,ATM PAYMENT DEPARTMENT
THE ATM CARD PAYMENT CENTER HAS BEEN MANDATED TO ISSUE OUT YOUR PAYMENT AND
YOU HAVE TO STOP ANY FURTHER COMMUNICATION WITH ANY OTHER PERSON(S) OR
OFFICE(s) TO AVOID ANY HITCHES IN RECEIVING YOUR PAYMENT.
NOTE THAT BECAUSE OF IMPOSTORS,WE HERE BY ISSUED YOU OUR CODE OF
CONDUCT,WHICH IS (ATM-8411) SO YOU HAVE TO INDICATE THIS CODE WHEN
CONTACTING THE CARD CENTER BY USING IT AS YOUR SUBJECT.