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:
- 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:
- "clear source of funds certificate" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "certificates of origin of funds" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "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. )
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "vat (5%)" (VAT rate in the UK is 17.5%, check the math)
- "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.
- 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: CHRISTOPHER WRAY <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2018 06:35:33 -0700
Subject: Greetings to you from the DHL COURIER SERVICES WORLD WIDE,
DHL OF NIGERIA Ltd
c913/3North Ridge Crescent Road
North Ridge, P.O Box 207 of NIGERIA
Greetings to you from the DHL COURIER SERVICES WORLD WIDE, we are
writing to inform you that your ATM CARD was brought to our office in
NIGERIA his Evening from the Bank Of US at about 3:37pm our time to be
delivered to you this DECEMBER 2014 my name is Mr. Jerry Bott, You are
inspected to send your delivery address to us for delivery to
I was told by the director of Bank of US that this ATM card is given
to you as a compensation to you due to the delayed of your Unclaimed
Fund / Inheritance, also we discovered that your Parcel has been
unnecessarily Delayed by corrupt officials in NIGERIA.
The ATM Card are two each of them is Value is $5.500,000 USD Only .
You are advised that a maximum withdrawal value of US$1,500.00 is
permitted daily from any ATM machine that has the VISA Card Logo on it
and the card have to be renewed in 4 years time which is 2018. Also
with the ATM card you will be able to transfer your funds to your
local bank account. The ATM card comes with a handbook or manual to
enlighten you about how to use it. Even if you do not have a bank
Please note that the ATM card is well packaged and cannot be opened
because it is protected with a hard cover an insurance policy which
makes it impossible for it to be used by any individual except by you
the rightful beneficiary. All verifications has been made and you are
the sole beneficiary of the funds, you are advice to pay the delivery
charges of $85.usd to get your parcel deliver to you within 24 hours.
24 hours Delivery
Payment of $185,usd should be sent to the DHL account officer from any
Western Union Money Transfer location nearest to you, As soon as
payment is confirm, you will be sent the tracking number to ascertain
status of your card shipment.
DESCRIPTION OF PARCEL:
ATM card/original certificate of weight :??0.20kg
Bonded draft of weight :??????0.17kg
Total weight of parcel :???????0.37kg
Color of Parcel :?????????-Dark Brown
Length of days :??????????24hours
Delivery Type:??????????-Premium Service
Delivery Status:??????????Virtual Pending
Your parcel contains the following documents:
1.Two Visa CARD VALUED THE SUM OF $5.500,000 USD Only
2.CLEAR SOURCE OF FUNDS CERTIFICATES(C.S.F.C?)
3.CERTIFICATES OF ORIGIN OF FUNDS(C.O.F.)
These documents have been securely sealed and packed for security
reasons which makes it impossible for anyone to view it until its been
delivered to you.
Immediately you make the payment delivery is set to take place. please
you are advice to send your delivery address to us in time so use the
below information to make the payment of the $185.usd so that your
package will be deliver to you ASAP.
Below is the delivery details needed from you
Your full Name..
Your Delivery Address:..............
Upon receipt of payment the delivery officer will ensure that your
package is sent within 24 working hours. Because we are so sure of
everything we are giving you a 100% money back guarantee if you do not
receive payment/package within the next 24hrs after you have made the
payment for shipping.
Receive's Name..........................Eze Anthony
Test Question..............................In God
I am waiting to hear from you as soon as your make the payment.
With best regards from the DHL COURIER SERVICE
Mr. Jerry Bott
DHL delivery service
we shall be communicating through email until you received the cards.