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:
- "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. )
- "mtcn" (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. )
- "fbi washington" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real FBI will not tell you to contact some email address. If you are in any doubt, contact an FBI field office via www.fbi.gov. )
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr James B. Comey FBI" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2016 11:56:37 +0100
Subject: IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF YOUR FUND US$10M ONLY VIA ATM VISA CARD
IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF YOUR FUND US$10M ONLY VIA ATM VISA CARD
Attention From: Mr James B. Comey (FBI)
This is to inform you that your payment of USD$10 Million from the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been released and ready to be paid to your via ATM VISA CARD which you will use to withdraw the US$5 Million from any ATM Machine in any part of the world.
we have a meeting with the Federal Government of Nigeria, we informed them that your fund should not cost you any thing because is your money (Your Card). Moreover, we have an agreement with them that you should pay only delivering of your card and insurance coverage fee which will cost you $98 U.S. DOLLARS for the delivering of your ATM CARD/insurance coverage.
However, you have only three working days to send this $98 U.S.DOLLARS To Mr. Fred Cole for the delivering of your card, if we dont hear from you with the payment information; the Federal Government will cancel the card.
We have mandated the Arab Bank Nigeria to issue an ATM VISA CARD and PIN# which you will use to withdraw the fund from any ATM machine in any part of the world but the maximum amount you can withdraw per day is US$20,000.00. You are strongly advice immediately to contact Mr. Fred Cole the Manager of Arab Bank Nigeria Plc via this email address: email@example.com Or call him on this number +234-7068019880 only for your (delivering of your ATM CARD/insurance coverage) and he will delivered your ATM visa card to you immediately.
No other charges except the delivering of your ATM CARD/insurance coverage. Listen as soon as he received the $98 Your delivery will take place( Pin Release order confirmation same day).
Note: You will only apply the pincode when you have paid your delivering of your ATM CARD/insurance coverage. because for now, it is still invalid until your ATM visa card get to you. If you pay your delivering of your ATM CARD/insurance coverage fee your pin number will be authenticated and gets valid thereby withdrawing your funds to the newly introduced system of payment by the Federal Republic of Nigeria and you can then make withdrawal by yourself. This is very simple just contact Mr. Fred Cole.and send him your information such as;
1) Your Full Name.
2) Your Contact Address. working one because is where the ATM card
will go in to avoid mistake.
3) Your Home Phone, Mobile/Cell Phone and fax Number.
REMEMBER YOU HAVE SPENT A LOT TOWARDS THIS PACKAGE ONCE THE CHARGE FEE REQUIRED NOW IS PAID SHIPMENT WILL COMMENCE AND YOU WILL RECOVER ALL YOU HAVE SPENT RECENTLY. THE CHARGE FEE REQUIRED NOW IS NOT MUCH SO YOU WILL BE ABLE TO AFFORD THE LAST FEE NEEDED WHICH IS $98 ONLY MY ADVICE TO YOU IS TO GO AHEAD AND SEND THE CHARGE FEE VIA WESTERN UNION. THE WESTERN UNION INFORMATION BELOW BELONG TO Mr. Fred Cole THE BRANCH MANAGER OF Arab Bank Nigeria SHIPPING DEPARTMENT NIGERIA. SEND $98 TO BELOW NAME .
RECEIVER NAME: AKACHI JOHN
TEXT QUESTION: OK
Immediately contact Mr. Fred Cole via E-mail along with the MTCN because the ATM VISA CARD approval in your name has been sent to Mr. Fred Cole and he is waiting for your above information include the evidence of Western Union or Money Gram (payment paper) to enable the most complete and up-to date records possible so that he will process and send you the CARD and PIN number without any delay. If the $98 can not be send now to Mr. Fred Cole , we can as well cancel this and contact all the neccesary authorities to this, we are waiting, asap your question,So make sure you contact him right now with your information and tell him that you received a message from the FBI of united state, Instructing you to contact him to pay only $98 for immediate release of your fund via ATM VISA CARD.you have no other payment to make except the delivering fee/insurance coverage fee.
Presently, this are few people that received there payment through FedEx and Dhl website (www.FEDEX.com)/ (www.dhl.com)
LINDA KNICKERBOCKER ============== 1426426772 (www.dhl.com)
LD =============== 1426425862 (www.dhl.com)
GARY METZGER ============== 871363130860 (www.FEDEX.com)
MARK STUBBS ==============871363116168 (www.FEDEX.com)
Contact me if there is any delay from the so called gentleman incharge.Note that, the delivering fee/insurance coverage is must and very important, so take note of that.any other contact or payment you make apart from the delivering fee/insurance coverage is at your own risk. After Mr. Fred Cole bring a report to us here that he have received the fee and your delivery will fasten under 24hours, latest 48 hours after confirmation. WE will like your respond to this call to avoid any further delaying. Do not be afraid for the fee, when replying this mail, include your position and address so that we can register it here.
Remember: you require urgently to contact Mr. Fred Cole with below e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately after making the payment for the delivery of your ATM VISA CARD.
NOTE:IF YOU CAN NOT PAY FOR THE SHIPPING/INSURANCE COVERAGE OF YOUR ATM CARD AND THE CARD IS NOT FOR YOU. SO YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Your immediate response will be required.
Mr James B. Comey FBI
Washington DC FBI.Room, 7367J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001