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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Gbenga Makinde" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2023 17:14:08 +0100
Subject: YOUR FUND IS READY AT LAST
This is a reminder message regarding your ATM visa card for your $4.8
million compensation fund approved by the Department of Finance. The
Department of Foreign Payments of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) has
been mandated by the Federal Ministry of Finance to handle the payment
of your compensation fund of the above amount by ATM visa card. Your
email contact is among the beneficiaries listed in the data for
US$4,800,000.00. And I have been assigned by the Federal Ministry of
Finance to carry out delivery of the ATM card parcel to you. This
compensation is in compliance with IMF and World bank directives to
pacify victims of internet scams. On this note, I am pleased to inform
you that the ATM visa card number: 4539 7978 0214 3027 for the sum of
US$4,800,000.00 has been credited in your favor and ready for delivery
to you immediately.
You are hereby required to confirm your present address where you want
the ATM visa card delivered to you. Upon receipt of the above
requirements from you, I shall have your ATM visa card package
dispatched to you by courier service who will deliver to your
designated home address. With the ATM visa card, you can make
withdrawals from any part of the world at the ATM center near you. The
PIN code and all necessary user guides will be attached to delivery
(intact in the ATM card package document) which will be delivered to
you by the courier service for your easy use.
Here is the information below that you need to reconfirm:
1. Your full name
2. Current home address
4. Mobile phone number
5. Fax Number
6. A copy of your identity card
Further instructions/directives will be sent to you on receipt of your
acknowledgment to this message
Finally, you have to keep this communication very, very confidential
for the security of your fund. Do not hesitate to contact back as soon
as you receive this email in case you need clarification on this
matter so that I can explain to you the delivery modus-operandi
guiding your funds payment.
Thanks for your participation and cooperation
We remain, yours faithfully
Mr. Gbenga Makinde
MD/CEO United Bank for Africa Benin Republic - UBA Group