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:
- "fund beneficiary" (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. )
- 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: "GTBank Plc." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "GTBank Plc." <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 14:42:42 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: ATM Master card valued sum of $10.5Million
Â Dear Fund Beneficiary,
I am Mr. James Dike, ATM Head of Operation Department Guaranty Trust Bank Nigeria PLC, I resumed to this office on the 5th of last Month and during my official research last week I discovered an abandoned ATM Master card valued sum of $10.5Million with card number 5399 8316 8792 belonging to you as the rightfully intimate beneficiary.
I tried to know why this card have not been released to you but I was told that the formal ATM head of operation who left this office two months ago withhold your card for his own personal use without knowing that I will not approve or support him to take your card.
Now that your ATM Master card is still available for you to pick it up here in our bank. I want to know how you wish to receive your ATM card along with your four digits pin code number.
You can come down here in our bank to pick up your card direct from my office or alternatively it can be send to your address through any registered reliable courier service company that you will take care of the courier charge, I donât know the cost of shipping the card to you but if you permit me I can make an inquiry from the courier shipment company to find out the cost, but in that case you will be required to forward to me your shipping address to enable me find out the shipment cost to your location.
Your direct telephone number and address will be needed and more details of your ATM card payment will be made known to you as soon as I receive your swift positive response, to enable you know the amount programmed for your ATM daily withdrawal.
Do not hesitate to call me on (+234) 816-015-5589 as soon as you read this mail.
Thanks for your co-operation.
Mr. James Dike,
Office Tel: Â (+234) 816-015-5589