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:
- "fund beneficiary" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Freddy Herrmann" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 2020 06:55:57 -0700
Subject: Dear Fund Beneficiary, YOUR ATM CARD.
Dear Fund Beneficiary,
This is to notify you concerning your abandoned ATM Visa Card valued
sum of US$10.5 Million and i have not received any positive respond
from you or making a suggestion on how you wish to receive your ATM
Card. Once again; I am Mr. Freddy Hermann the new director ATM Head of
Operation United Bank For Africa PLC, I resumed to this office on the
10th of January 2019 and during my official research I discovered an
abandoned ATM Visa Card valued sum of $10.5 Million belonging to you
as the rightfully intimate beneficiary.
I tried to know why this card has not been released to you but I was
told by the UBA Bank management that the former director ATM head of
operation who left this office two months ago withhold your card for
his own personal use without knowing that his evil plans towards
diverting your fund will be discovered. Now that your ATM Visa card is
still available and ready for you to receive, you may come down here
to our bank to pick up your card in person or alternatively it can be
arranged and shiped to your Home Address through any registered
reliable Courier Service Company but you will take care of the courier
charge before the dispatch of your ATM CARD, hope this is cleared and
accepted by you?
I donât know the courier cost of shipping the card to you but if you
permit me and accept the terms, then I can make an inquiry from the
Courier Shipping Company what the cost is and in that case you will be
required to reconfirm your data to us where you want to receive the
card to enable me find out the shipping cost to your location.
Reconfirmation of your Full Name, Direct Telephone Number, Home
Address, Your Occupation, Your Religion and Scan Copy of your ID will
be needed and more details of your ATM CARD payment will be made known
to you as soon as I receive your positive response. Thanks for your
co-operation as i wait to hear from you.
Mr. Freddy Hermann