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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "insurance fee " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "courier company" (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.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "United Bank for Africa." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2023 08:03:26 +0100
Subject: Attn:Beneficiary .....code (555) ???
From the Desk Of:United Bank for Africa
Mr.David M Lee
Director ATM Swift Card
Foreign Operation Dept
Good news, we have a meeting with the Federal government of Nigeria we
informed them that your funds should be released to you this 2023 and after
our meeting we have come to a conclusion that your payment will be made to
you by (Atm Visa Card). Moreover, we have an agreement with them that you
should pay only delivering of your (Atm Visa Card) and the INSURANCE which
is going to cost you just the sum of USD$95 DOLLARS by Speedway Delivering
Company. However, you have only two working days to send this delivery fee
and insurance fee of $95 U.S. DOLLARS. If we donât hear from you with the
payment information; the Federal Government will cancel the payment with
I want you to read the notice below carefully, as the notice stands as
caution before it is late. for your consideration, you must be conscious of
this project, as I will soon conclude this transaction with you, incase of
any e-mails, calls you receives regarding this from any individuals claimed
to be me, or e-mails, calls from any organization to you, such must be
forwarded at once to me immediately by e-mail.
Also, it might come to you with different proposals with different names
including my name asking you to come and claim your estate or even funds
belonging to you or to somebody you do not know, I urge you to ignore such
emails or calls, while you forward it to me. I want you to understand that
the most important thing for me is your understanding and cooperation,
again without this code (555) donât get back to me.
Moreover, the first batch of your card which contains $10,500.000.00
MILLION U.S. DOLLARS has been loaded inside the card. And this is the first
batch. Your payment would be sent to you via UPS or Speedway couricer,
Because we have signed a contract with them which should expired by January
Moreover, this to inform you that your tracking number will be given to you
for you use to track your Atm Visa Card while on transit through Speedway
courier website (www.Speedwaycouricer.com).
SPEEDWAYS COURIER COMPANY
General Managing Director
All rights reserved. Â© 1995-2023
You have to reconfirm your full information such as follow:
Full Name: â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
Home Address or Office: â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
Home Phone number: â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
A Copy of your ID â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
This is to inform you that you should get back to me for the payment
information that you will use and send the $95 U.S. DOLLARS only, through
Western Union money transfer for the shipment and insurance only.
Director ATM Swift Card/Foreign Operation Dept,
United Bank for Africa.