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:
- "swift card payment center" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "card center will send you an atm card" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "(ecowas)" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.John Amos" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2021 23:51:24 +1300
Subject: URGENT CONTACT ATM CARD FOR YOUR PAYMENT
Attention: My Good Friend,
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and family?, you may not
understand why this mail came to you. We have been having a meeting
for the passed 2 months which ended 2 days ago with the secretary of
the UNITED NATION. This email is to all the people that have been
scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to
compensate them with the sum of US$1, 8000.000.00 each.
This includes every foreign contractors/Inheritance that may have not
received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished
transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government
problems etc. We found your name in our list and that is why we are
contacting you, this has been agreed upon and have been signed.
Right now we have arranged your payment through our swift card payment
center Asia pacific, that is the latest instruction from the UNITED
NATION ORGANIZATION and The Economic Community Of West African States
(ECOWAS). This card center will send you an ATM CARD worth the sum of
$1.8MILLION used in which you will use to withdraw your money in any
ATM Machine in any part of the world,
Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number,
your correct mailing address where you want him to send your ATM CARD
worth the sum of $1.8M to you. Contact Mr. Charles Belo immediately
for the Delivery of your ATM CARD PAYMENT to your home address:
Person to Contact: Mr. Charles Belo
Remember that the ATM DEPARTMENT Center will ask you to pay for the
delivery fee of your ATM CARD to your destination address that will
only cost you $158 us dollar OK.
Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hoping to hear from you as
soon as you cash your Bank Draft.
Making the world a better place.Regards,
Secretary-General Mr.John Amos