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:
- "million 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)
- "his direct line" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: Official Transfer <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Official Transfer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2015 08:57:07 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: YOUR ATM VISA CARD
Â Hello My Friend.
I have submitted your ATM Visa Card to the ATM Department office. But before they can send the card to you they will need your contact information such as your name, your location address, your country name and state, your phone mobile number, and your drive license or international passport.
They said only if you send the needed information and call director Mr. James Victor in charge, his direct line Telephone +229-99310807, and assure him you are the rightful person to receive $6.5Million Dollars in an ATM Visa Card. If you do not call him within 24 hrs. he might cancel the delivery as he will then know that this is not the rightful person then send your receiver name and your location address your drive license or international passport, your phone mobile number as I said now please send them via mail as below:email@example.com
Thanks & remain blessed.
Barrister Michael Obi