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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "atm payment department" (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. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "courier service" (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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Rev Paul Kwudi" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2016 12:58:00 -0000
Subject: IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT ORDER VIA ATM CARD
IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT ORDER VIA ATM CARD
The previous message you got from us was directed to you based on the order from Office of the presidency (President of Benin Republic) after the intervention of the International Monetary Funds Agency (IMF) and the G8 Summit meeting headed last regarding the settlement of all Winning / Inheritance funds to the Beneficiaries. The compensation payment also applies to Victims of internet scam because the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC), in conjunction with the world bank, and the international monetary fund (IMF), has agreed to pay a compensation of USD$5,500,000.00 (Five million, five Hundred Thousand Dollars Only) to each of the victims of various internet fraud, who may have lost their hard earned money in the hands of internet fraudsters.
Your name and email address was short listed as one of the victims of internet fraud, that is why we are contacting you as one of the beneficiaries of this compensation payment. We do understand what you went through in the hands of these scammers, but you have to receive this compensation as part of our effort to protect human rights all over the world.
To forestall this, security for your funds was organized in the form of your personal Identification number (PIN) ATM CARD and this will enable only you to have direct Control over your funds in the ATM CARD. We will monitor this payment ourselves to avoid the hopeless situation created by the Officials of the bank.
We have actually been authorized by the Honorable President of Benin Republic west Africa and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) secretary general to contact you for your overdue payment. This is the third time your Payment file has come to my table, and every time an Executive Order comes from the government ordering that your fund should be recalled back to the World Bank Escrow account, without any genuine reason.
Meanwhile, our Payment Settlement System (PSS) has received another permanent Authority / Irrevocable Release / Unconditional payments guarantee by the presidency to pay you off your Winning / Inheritance Funds via ATM Visa Card.
Your ATM CARD is ready and here is your new Payment Reference No.35460021, Allocation No: 674632 Password No: 339331, Pin Code No: 7644 and your Certificate of Merit Payment No: 103, ATM Visa Card Released Code No: 0763; Immediate Telex confirmation No: 1114433, Secret Code No: XXTN013.
FUND AWARD REFERENCE CODE: UNAP 563EUS, REGISTERED TAG: UNZEFCB79268, SECURITY CODE: SCUN/2015/90363/, TRANSACTION CODE 8563/TCUNEU/9563/56253/, CERTIFICATE DEPOSIT CODE: CDCUN/EU673/IEDD/-09/15, DEPOSIT CERTIFICATE N0: 735642
The refrence numbers above will provide security to your funds and will guaranty a hitch free transaction. With the reference numbers above, you do not need any form of anti terrorist certificate from any Agency. You are covered from any form of harassment from FBI, IMF or Interpol.
We shall convey your ATM CARD to your address through a courier service.The delivery fee is $180 only. We shall give you our cashier information to send the money through Money Gram or Western Union money transfer on your readiness to send the money.
Reverend Father Paul Kwudi
Director ATM Payment Department
Swift Card Consultants Payment Center.
(United bank of Africa (UBA)