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 card department" (this phrase is often used in the ATM card payment scam)
- "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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "executive governor" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: peter west <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2021 10:18:31 +0100
Subject: ATTENTION DEAR,
I wish to use this medium to inform you that your CONTRACT/INHERITANCE
Payment of USD$10,500,000.00 (Ten Million Five Hundred United States
from CENTRAL BANK OF BENIN have been RELEASED and APPROVED for
onward transfer to you via an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw
all the USD$10,500,000.00 in any ATM SERVICE MACHINE in any part of the world.
We have mandated United Bank For Africa, to send you the ATM CARD and
PIN NUMBER which you will use to withdraw all your US$10.5Million
Dollars in any ATM SERVICE MACHINE in any part of the world, but the
maximum you can withdraw in a day is US$10,000.00 Only.
You are therefore advice to contact the Head of ATM CARD Department of
United Bank Africa (UBA);
Contact Person: Mr.Peter West,
Office email address: email@example.com
Phone No +229 65875819
Tell Mr.Peter West, that you received a message from the CENTRAL BANK
OF BENIN. Instructing him to send you the ATM CARD and PIN NUMBER
which you will use to withdraw your USD$10.5 Million Dollars in any
ATM SERVICE MACHINE in any part of the world, also send him your
direct phone number
and contact address where you want him to send the ATM CARD and PIN
NUMBER to you.
We are very sorry for the plight you have gone in the past
Thanks for adhering to this instruction and once again
accept our congratulations.
Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
Central Bank of BENIN (CBB)