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:
- 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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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.
- 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: "Stephen O'Brien. (UNITED NATION)" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2016 10:47:53 +0100
Subject: APPROVED COMPENSATION PAYMENT AWARD OF US$500.000.00 !
World Bank Assisted Program
Directorate Of International
Payment And Transfer.
Debt Reconciliation/Audit Unit
United Nations Headquarters,
New York, NY 10017, U.S.A.
Our Ref: WB/NF/UN/XX028 United Nations.
RE: YOUR COMPENSATION PAYMENT AWARD OF US$500.000.00 IS READY?
This is to acquaint you on the outcome of our 1 day meeting with U.N International Financial Investigation Unit and the Association of Better Business Bureau to compensate scam victims upon due verification,
we have jointly approved $500,000.00 Dollars (Five hundred thousand United States Dollars) for every confirmed victim. Your E-mail address was generated through the computer ballot system as one of the
selected victim to receive this compensation.
However, adequate arrangement has been put in place to upload the approved payment compensation into a Platinum Card that can be accessible at any inter-switch cash machine anywhere in the world.
Finally; for the purpose of proper verification of your claims, it is imperative that you furnish us with the following of your details necessary to process release/remittance of your payment:
1. Your Full name:
2. Your Country:( FOR ATM DELIVERY)
3. Contact Address:
4. Telephone Number:
5. Fax Number:
6. Marital Status:
10.Scanned copy of your identification:
You are expected to forward the above information to the Authorized Payment Center below:
Paying Bank: Zenith Bank Plc
Contact Person: Chris Lucas
You are advised to contact the above bank with your information to enable your fund processed and released to you within the stipulated time frame.
United Nations Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs,Emergency Relief
NOTICE: This E-mail (including attachments) is covered by the
Electronic Communication Privacy Acts, 18 U.S.C Sec 2510-2521, is
confidential and may be legally privileged. The information is solely
for the use of the addressee named above. If you are not the intended
recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution, or other use of the
contents of this information is strictly prohibited. If you have
received this E-mail in error, please notify us by return e-mail and
delete this message.