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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "FROM THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FINANCE,ABUJA." (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2015 03:37:59 -0800
Subject: YOUR ELECTRONICS ATM CARD/CASHIERS CHEQUE PAYMENT READY IN THIS FIRST QUARTER OF 2015.
>From The Desk Of: Dr.Abraham Nwankwo..
Managing Director/CEO,Debt Management Office
Head Office: Plot 1261, Adeola Hopewell Street,
Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
Direct Tel: 234-8090-718221.
RE: YOUR ELECTRONICS ATM CARD/CASHIERS CHEQUE PAYMENT READY IN THIS FIRST QUARTER OF 2015.
This is a reminder message regarding your brand new ATM Master Card for your Inheritance/Contract funds in the sum of US$3.5Million only (Three Million Five Hundred Thousand US dollars only) approved by the Ministry of Finance, the Nigeria Debt Management Office (DMO) has been mandated by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to handle the payment of your
over due funds of the above amount through an Automated Teller Machine (ATM Card) mode of payment or through teh issuance of an International Certified Cashiers Cheque payable over your bank counter as you may wish to be paid as you will make your choice and get back to my office for your immediate payment, your email contact is among the listed beneficiaries in the data to be paid for the sum of US$3.5Milion and I have been assigned by the management of the Federal Ministry of Finance through the Finance Minister to carry out your payment and the delivery of the ATM Card package to you or your Cashiers Cheque as you will prefer to be paid in my capacity as the Director General of the Debt Management Office which is a department under the Finance Ministry.
This first payment instructions of 2015 is in compliance with IMF and World bank directives settle all our owed beneficiaries and to pacify victims of internet scam as listed by the United Nations as your email id was among them.On this note am pleased to inform you that your ATM card Numbers are as thus 4539 7978 0214 3027 for the sum of US$3.5Million has been credited in your favor and ready for immediate delivery to your home or office address in your Country which you have to reconfirm to my office upon the receipt of this email, You are hereby required to confirm your telephone number and present address were you want the ATM Card or Cashiers Cheque will be delivered to you through my office here as your ATM Card is ready as been issued by the Finance Ministry through our Reserve bankers,with your complete names which i will use to Activate your ATM Card through our bankers Data base as our account holders,Note that the Debt Management Office (DMO) which am the Director General will bear the Insurance
Upon receipt of the above requirements from you I shall have your ATM card package dispatched to you by courier service who will deliver to your designated home address. With the ATM card, you can make withdrawals from any part of the world at ATM machine center near to you,your four digits PIN Code necessary user guides will be attached on delivery (intact in the ATM card package doc.) which will be delivered to you by the courier service for your easy usage and cash withdrawals.
Further instruction/directive will be sent to you on receipt of your acknowledgment to this message.
Debt Management Office (DMO).
Direct Tel: 234-8090-718221.