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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "activation fee" (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. )
- ",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)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Emefiele Godwin <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2017 02:33:42 -0700
From The Desk of Emefiele Godwin
Service Attendant: Emefiele Godwin
Direct Tell to Reach Me: +234-90-6041-6261
Dear Esteemed Beneficiary,
Be informed that after the investigations into some irregular payments
by the banks, the United State Government under the regime of President
Obama, in conjunction with the U.S Bank , has formalized arrangements to
commence the payment of your outstanding payment of $10,500,000.00 to
you through this esteem bank. The Africa BANK.
By this new payment arrangement, you are to enjoy less or no costs as
your payment has already been approved to be loaded into a Visa Debit
(ATM) card which will be delivered to you at your preferred destination
in the state. The ATM card will access your funds from any ATM in over
170 countries and can be used at POS globally.
So please go ahead and furnish me with the following information below
for accurate delivery without mistakes, I'm here to ensure you receive
your Card through this development because so many of our corrupt top
officials has cheated us and damage the great image of our honest
country and that is why I am here to ensure you receive your safely.
4)A copy of identification:
The receipt of the above-listed requirements by our Debit Card Unit
assures safe delivery of your loaded ATM card to your destination within
48hrs, the only fee you will be required to pay is the sum of $290 only
which is for the shipment of your ATM card to your address plus the
activation fee of $58 in total is $348. You are advised to send it
quickly on my name for quick confirmation;
Receivers name: Emefiele Godwin
Amount Expected: $348 only
MTCN or Reference #..........
Feel free and take note that as soon as the parcel is on transit, your
tracking number will be forward to you so that it will enable you to
track your package over there and to know its delivery status or when it
will be arriving down to your address. Let me repeat again, try and
reconfirm your delivery information as soon as you receive this mail to
avoid any further delay and take note that your pin code of the card is
1010 do not expose it to anybody else. And try to call me so that i will
be rest assured that this message gets to you safely.
Accept our congratulations.
Thank you for banking with us
My warm greetings to your household,
Service Attendant: Mr Emefiele Godwin
Direct Tell to Reach Me: +234-90-6041-6261