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:
- "sent to you via courier service" (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. )
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned 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.
Fraud email example:
From: ATM Visa Card <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2023 13:13:20 -0700
Subject: Your Approved ATM Card(R) details
This is to inform you that a compensation payment in the amount of
US$2,800,000.00, (Two Million Eight Hundred Thousand United State Dollars)
was legally approved and deposited few days ago with our Bank, UBA Bank of
Benin ATM Visa Credit/debit Card Branch Office here in 23 Avenue Steimetz
Cotonou Benin Republic and it was deposited in your name by the foreign
debts settlement/compensation committee of the Executive Directors Of World
Bank Group in conjunction with the European Union Board Of Directors. We
were instructed to credit this fund directly to an ATM Visa Credit/debit
Card with immediate effect, and follow up on delivery of the Debit card to
your preferred delivery address though courier. UBA Bank of Benin ATM Visa
Credit/debit CardÂ® has produced and credited your ATM Visa CardÂ®. Your
secret pin is ****and the amount upgraded in the ATM Card is
US$2,800,000.00, verified and certified by VISA International. In view of
the forgoing, an invitation has been granted to you to visit UBA Bank Benin
to receive your Visa Card. Alternatively, if you cannot visit UBA BANK here
in Benin for collection of your VISA CARD, you must therefore apply for the
VISA CARD to be sent to you via Courier Service at your own expenses by
affecting the payments of the following;
Approved ATM Visa CardÂ® details:
1) Reference release No. 544261
2) Payment code No. 9090
3) Merit No. 401024
4) Cvv. ***
5) Allocation No. SBN/XBN/FGN 2901233
6) Fund identification no. DM7177
7) 4 Digit Pin Code: **** (security reasons)
8) Card Number: 7177 0239 6684 9753
9) Exp Date: 03/26
Kindly advise us on your choice of receiving your debit card. The Delivery
charge for your ATM VISA CARD credit card through courier service will be
charged by any courier of your choice when you make the choice known to us
and payment will be made to the Courier Services Company for immediate
delivery. Payment information will be provided as soon as you indicate your
Once the fee is received by the courier service, we shall immediately send
the ATM Visa CardÂ® Credit Card to your provided address via courier service
and issue you the tracking number and it will take only 1-3 days to arrive
in your address, so you can withdraw the first US$10,000.00 that same
moment. This ATM Visa CardÂ® Credit Card is a global VISA CARD that
dispenses cash from any ATM machine in any part of the world.
Thanks and waiting for your responds
Mr. Terry James
Director UBA Bank Benin
Phone: +229 58 83 00 94