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:
- "atm payment department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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 company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "email@example.com" (this email address looks like addresses used in "ATM SWIFT card" 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.
- 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: Mrs Esther Oly <email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 07 Jul 2019 06:53:24 +0100
Subject: Dear Email Owner/Fund Beneficiary,
Dear Email Owner/Fund Beneficiary,
IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT ORDER VIA ATM CARD.We have actually been authorized
by the newly appointed United Nation secretary general, and the
governing body of the UNITED NATIONS Monetary Unit, to investigate the
unnecessary delay on your payment, recommended and approved in your
favor. During the course of our investigation, we discovered with dismay
that your payment has been unnecessarily Delayed by corrupt officials of
the Bank who are Trying to divert your funds into their private
To forestall this, security for your funds was organized in the form of
your personal Identification number (PIN) ATM CARD and this will enable
only you to have direct Control over your funds in the ATM CARD. We will
monitor this payment ourselves to avoid the hopeless situation created
by the Officials of the bank.
An irrevocable payment guarantee has been issued by the World Bank
Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on your Payment.
However, we are happy to inform you that based on our
recommendation/Instructions; your complete Inheritance funds have been
credited in your favor through ATM VISA CARD.
You are therefore advice to contact:
Director ATM Payment Department
(Uba Bank Plc, Benin Republic)
Email Address: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Telephone Number +229-941-939-59
Contact him now for the delivery of your ATM Card. As soon as you
establish a contact with him, an ATM card will be issued to you
immediately which you can use to withdraw your funds in any Bank ATM
Machine in your Country, but the maximum is $5000 per day. So if you
like to receive your funds through this means you're advised to contact
(Mr. John Robert with the following information as stated below:
1. Your Full Name:
2. Address Where You Want the Courier Company to Send Your ATM Card
To or (P.O Box)
5. Mobile Number:
6. Private E-Mail Address:
NOTE: You are advised to furnish Mr. John Robert with your correct and
valid details. Also be informed that the amount to be paid to you is
USD$3, 500, 000, 00. We expect your urgent response to this email to
enable us monitor this payment effectively thereby making contact with
MR.John Robert as directed to avoid further delay.
Mrs Esther Oly