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:
- "contact the atm card center" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "money gram" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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: "Greg Morris" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 00:14:50 +0400
Subject: YOUR ATM CARD !!! YOUR ATM CARD !!!!!
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Counter-terrorism Division and Cyber Crime Division
J. Edgar. Hoover Building Washington DC
Records show that you are among one of the individuals and
Organizations that are yet to receive their overdue payment from
Overseas which includes those of Lottery/Gambling, Contract and
Inheritance. Through our Fraud Monitory Unit we have noticed that you
Have been transacting with some impostors and fraudsters who have been
Impersonating the likes of Prof. Soludo/Mr.Lamido Sansui of the
Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Bode Williams, Frank,
Anderson, none officials of Oceanic Bank, Zenith Banks, Kelvin Young
Of HSBC, Ben of FedEx, Ibrahim Sule, Dr. Usman Shamsuddeen and some
Impostors claiming to be The Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Cyber Crime Division of the FBI gathered information from the
Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) on how some people have lost
Outrageous sums of money to these impostors. As a result of this, we
Hereby advise you to stop communication with any one not referred to
You by us. We have negotiated with the Federal Ministry of Finance
That your payment totaling $10,500,000.00(Ten Million Five Hundred
Thousand Dollars) Will be released to you via a custom pin based ATM
Card with a maximum withdrawal limit of $20,000 daily and card is
powered by visa Card and can be used anywhere in the world where you
see a Visa Card Logo on the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM).
We guarantee receipt of your payment. This is as a result of the
Mandate from USA Government to make sure all debts owed to citizens of
American and also Asia and Europe which includes Inheritance,
Contract, Gambling/Lottery etc are been cleared.
To redeem your funds, you are hereby advised to contact the ATM Card
Center via email for their requirement to proceed and procure your
Approval of Payment Warrant and Endorsement of your ATM Release Order
On your behalf which will cost you $570 Usd only and nothing more as
Everything else has been taken care of by the Federal Government
Including taxes, custom paper and clearance duty so all you will ever
Need to pay is $570.00 only to Mr.Barry Anderson (ATM Card Center
Director)ATM locations at 600 Commerce St Ikoyi,Lagos/Nigeria.
ATM Card Center Director Mr.Barry Anderson
Do contact Mr.Barry Anderson of the ATM Card Center via his contact
details Above and furnish him with your details as listed below and
also ask Him for the payment information you need to send the $570
Payment Warrant and Endorsement fee:
FULL NAMES: ______________________________
DELIVERY ADDRESS FOR ATM CARD: __________________
DATE OF BIRTH: __________________
TELEPHONE NUMBER: _____________________
EMAIL ADDRESS: _____________________
On contacting him with your details your file would be updated and he
Will be sending you the payment information in which you will use in
Making payment of $570.00 via Money Gram or Western Union Money
Transfer for the procurement of your Approval of Payment Warrant and
Endorsement of your ATM Release Order, after which the delivery of
Your ATM card will be affected to your designated home address without
Any further delay, extra fee.
DIRECTOR FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535
Note: Disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices
Claiming to be in possession of your ATM card, you are hereby advice
Only to be in contact with Mr Wayne Collins of the ATM card center who
is The rightful person to deal with in regards to your payment and
Forward any emails you get from impostors to this office so we could
Act upon it immediately. Help stop cyber crime