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:
- 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:
- "atm card department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "million united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Hikmet Ersek" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mrs. Hikmet Ersek" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 18:07:11 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: YOUR ATM CREDIT CARD IS READY TO PICK UP
Â Good day dear Beneficiary,
How are you doing hoping all is well with you and your family? We know you might have forgotten about this your outstanding compensation payment due to delay on the delivery up till now. We are here by writing to inform you that your payment file was found in our Office and we discovered that your Compensation payment of $4.7 Million united state dollars have not been sent to you as it was instructed by The Economic Community of West African States (ECO-WAS)
We are here to inform you that your payment has been converted into ATM Visa/Master Card to free it from Expiring, and all the necessary arrangement for your ATM VISA CARD Payment worth of $4.7Million United State Dollars has been granted for your payment through Our ATM Card Department Center.
Now Your ATM Visa/Master Card is well packaged with every legal documents to convey it having any problem with any Authorities or with your Federal Government therefore we are here by inviting you to our office here in Benin, Office Address, Commented Bank, Cotonou Jean Paul 1 BP 325,Benin Republic, to enable us complete the normal formalities and activation process of your ATM Visa Card and issue the Secret PIN CODE/NUMBER to enable you start using it at any ATM MACHINE worldwide of your choice nearest to you, as soon as it is activated, But if you are unable to come down here in our office in person you will be required to update our ATM Department Center with your contact delivery details as stated below so that they will proceed with the necessary arrangement for the delivery of your ATM VISA/MASTER CARD.
1. Your Full name, ________________
2. Your home Address, _____________
3. Your telephone number, _________
4. A copy of your ID, _____________
5. Your age/sex, __________________
6. Your occupation, _______________
7. Your country, __________________
Therefore you should contact OUR ATM CARD PAYMENT DEPARTMENT CENTER immediately on their below;
E-mail :( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Contact Person; Dr.Tom Bright
Director Of United Bank For Africa (UBA)
Telephone Number; +229-64343831
Try to call him immediately to know when your ATM VISA CARD will be delivered to you.
I am waiting for you to update us as soon as you have received your Visa/Master ATM Card.
Thanks and God Bless You.
Mrs. Hikmet Ersek