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:
- "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. )
- "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)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "courier company" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "New York City" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2016 17:10:29 -0700
Subject: E-MAIL FROM FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NY...
Federal Reserve Bank Of New York
33 Liberty St, New York, NY 10045,
Tel.: +1 347 298 3333
My Dear, Good Day
This is to officially inform you that the bank Federal Reserve Board New York Branch has concluded in the meeting today over your long overdue contract payment and agreed that your payment worth US$8.300,000.00 will be released to you through ATM Visa Card which will be delivered to you directly to your home address. I am directed to inform you that your payment verification and confirmations is OK, Therefore, we are happy to inform you that arrangements has been concluded to effect your payment as soon as possible and in our bid to transparency,It is our pleasure to inform you that ATM Card Number: 4000 1010257172299 has been approved and upgraded in your favor . Your Secret PIN Number is 8342. The ATM Card Value is $8.3M USD Only.
You are advised that a maximum withdrawal value of $20,000.00 USD is permitted on withdrawal per day with a minimum of $1000 per withrawal and we are duly inter switched and you can make withdrawal in any location and ATM Center of your choice. We have concluded delivery arrangement with COURIER SERVICE, Courier Company to be fully insured by Nicon Insurance Corporation. In view of this development, you are requested to immediately offset the Courier and Insurance charges of $290 USD through the Company given payment instruction as follows with address of sender and amount also mtcn of transfer is required to enable the receiving company insure and deliver the card to your address;
Name: Joann Knight
Address: Fort Lauderdale, USA
Text Question: God Bless?
Send the Transfer Number to this office for further action. Be informed that delivery will be made to your address in 48 hours after our confirmation of this payment for delivery, as you know that the delivery fee receipt will be used to attach on your payment delivery documents to avoid being delay by the customs.
Advice this office your preffered time of delivery and be informed that your valid ID card must be presented to the dispatchers before release will be done. TAKE NOTE.
Treat very urgently as we also remind you that you?re ATM Card is ready.
Yours in Service,
Mr. Charles P. Thomas