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:
- "atm payment department" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: "Osaretin A. Demuren" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2023 11:51:52 +0100
Subject: Ref: CB/NF/AT/9N.
Zenith Bank Plc.
87 Ajose Adeogun St,
Victoria Island 106104,
YOUR PAYMENT VIA ATM DEBIT CARD.
This is to inform you that your payment file has been revisited by the
presidential task force mandated for the settlement of all outstanding
payments owed to foreigners inaugurated on the Friday 3rd of March, 2023.
President Muhammad Muhammad has instructed our bank to make sure all
outstanding payments owed to foreigners to be released on or before 25th
However, your Name was approved as one of those that have an outstanding
payment hence you are being contacted.
As a matter of fact, account normalization of your banking details has been
delayed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Financial Services
Authority (UK). This has made it necessary for your payment to be
programmed into an Atm Debit Card. The total fund in question is
$5,000,000.00 this is the first part of the Payment of which the balance
will subsequently be paid into the same account.
The Zenith Bank of Nigeria, working in relationship with Intercontinental
Bank has concluded to issue you a VISA CARD with which you can access your
Fund /beneficiary amount $5,000,000.000 This card center will send you an
ATM card which you will use to withdraw your money in any ATM machine in
any part of the world, but the maximum is Five Thousand United States
Dollars ($5,000.00) per day. So if you like to receive your fund in this
way, please let us know by contacting the ATM payment department and also
send the following information as listed below:
1. Full name and full country name:
2. Phone and fax number:
3. Your Country and Residential Address:
4. Your age and current occupation:
You are advice to contact the director of ATM CARD payment officer for more
Director, ATM payment department :
Mrs. Mosun Belo-Olusoga.
Email address: email@example.com
The ATM card payment center was mandated to issue out $5,000,000.00 as part
payment for this fiscal year 2023 to you so bear with us. Also for your
information, you have to stop any further communication with any other
person(S) or office(S) to avoid any hitches in receiving your payment.
Note that because of impostors, we hereby issued you our code of conduct,
which is (ATM-817) so you have to indicate this code when contacting the
card center by using it as your subject.
We anticipate your total compliance to this message immediately.
Mrs. Osaretin Afusat Demuren.
Director ATM Payment Dept