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:
- "security keeping 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. )
- ",000,000" (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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Zenith Bank (UK) Ltd" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2017 14:42:12 -0800
Subject: Dear Esteem Customer
Dear Esteem Customer,
Instruction was given to our branch office in United States by the United Nations and United States Government, to transfer your FIVE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLAR ($5,000,000.00USD) awarded fund through prepaid ATM Debit/Master Card. This fund was part of the lodged late President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela discovered Stolen fund with Zenith Bank (USA) Ltd, which the U.S Government is in agreement with the United Nations to distribute it generously to help 700 lucky individuals to in America, Europe & Asia and Africa in other to help improve their businesses through this scheme.
Your payment would be sent to you via USPS,FedEx or DHL, Because we have signed a contract with them which will expired in May 2nd 2019.
We wish to let you know that everything concerning your ATM CARD payment dispatch is ready and we had a meeting with the (United States Senate Committee). We informed them that your fund should not cost you any thing because is your money (Your ATM Card). After the meeting, we concluded that you should pay only the SECURITY KEEPING FEE of your ATM Card.
presently we deposited Your ATM Card with DHL Courier Service in Alabama USA, what you have to do now is to contact Mr. Louis Arinze DHL COURIER SERVICE, as soon as possible to know when he will deliver your ATM CARD to you because of the expiring date and send him your SECURITY KEEPING CODE (EUUN/0573/ATM) and also reconfirm the below information to Mr. Louis Arinze.
FULL NAME: FULL CONTACT ADDRESS: MOBILE NUMBER:
You have to contact Mr. Louis Arinze DHL COURIER SERVICE, ALABAMA USA, now for the delivery of your ATM CARD with this information below;
Contact Person: Mr. Louis Arinze
Tel: +1 (415) 237-1601
Hon. Dr. James Mcwills
Head of International Banking Division.
Zenith Bank (UK) Ltd.