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:
- "contact the atm card center" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "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. )
- "million 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)
- ",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)
- "we advice you" (this email uses bad English)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "firstname.lastname@example.org" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2018 10:18:22 +0200
Subject: ***BULK*** Valued Customer
Dear Complaints, Therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry of Finance on your Behalf and they have brought a solution to your problem by coordinating your payment in total (11,000,000.00) Eleven Million Dollars in an atm card which you can use to withdraw money from any ATM MACHINE CENTER anywhere in the world with a maximum of 10,000 Dollars daily. You now have the lawful right to claim your fund in an atm card. Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved in this transaction, you have to be rest assured for this is 100% risk free it is our duty to protect the American Citizens, European Citizens, Asian Citizen. All I want you to do is to contact the atm card CENTER Via email or call the office telephone number one of the Consultant will assist you for their requirements to proceed and procure your Approval Slip on your behalf which will cost you $2,200 Dollars only and note that your Approval Slip which contains details of the agent who will process your transaction.
NAME: Mrs. James Jacobs
Office Telephone Numbers: +27 630-574-646
Do contact Mrs. James Jacobs of the atm card center with your details:
So your files would be updated after which she will send the payment information which you'll use in making the payment of $2,200 Dollars via Bank to Bank transfer or Money Gram Money Transfer for the procurement of your Approval Slip after which the Delivery of your atm card will be affected to your designated home Address without any further delay and the bank will transfer your funds in total (11,000,000.00) Eleven Million Dollars to your Bank account. Mrs. James Jacobs will reply you with the secret code (1600 atm card). We advice you get back to the payment office after you have contacted the ATM SWIFT CARD CENTER and we do await your response so we can move on with our Investigation and make sure your ATM SWIFT CARD gets to you.
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