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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Peter Adams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2021 00:29:03 +0800
Subject: Your ATM VISA CARD is ready for delivery
Zenith International Bank Plc
ATM Visa/Swift Card Unit,
Private Email: email@example.com
Attn: Fund Beneficiary,
The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Zenith International Bank Nigeria PLC has released your Contract/Inheritance/Compensation Fund of Ten Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars only ($10.5M) to you as the rightful fund beneficiary.
We have credited your fund ($10.5M) into an ATM Visa Card which we will be sending to your doorstep by Courier Service on the provision of your personal details. How to receive your ATM Visa Card; you are required to reconfirm to me your personal details as follows:
Full Address (where you want to receive your ATM Card);
As soon as you supply your contact information, your card will be processed and the money has been credited into it for delivery. Please note that the delivery fee of your ATM CARD shall be taken care of by you which is Eighty United States Dollars only ($80.00).
I look forward to hearing from you.
Dr. Peter Adams
ATM CARD Executive Director, Zenith Bank
Private Email: firstname.lastname@example.org