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:
- 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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "cheques " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Charlene Mungano <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2023 22:09:15 +0100
Subject: Your ATM card is Awaiting Clearance and Delivery.
Dear beneficiary, my name is Charlene Mungano, a top official with the
Central Bank's Foreign Remittance Department and recently served as
an observer for the just concluded Auditing exercise by the office of
the Auditor General of KENYA. This is coming after the verdict of the
supreme court and efforts of the Federal government of Kenya to rid
the country of dormant funds and assets being held in Kenya Offshore
accounts by foreign officials and firms in Kenya. These funds and
assets were either legally deposited/invested in Kenya or illegally
hidden and diverted from individuals and/or firms resulting from
contracts, winnings, inheritances. Many of the dormant accounts and
assets are dated back to decades and some are either difficult to
trace and connect to their beneficiaries or possible next of kin, this
is contained in the official report
The Central bank and Finance department are therefore in close contact
with the USA, UK and EU Commissions and various other Missions under
strict supervision of the UN envoy office in Kenya towards ensuring
that individual beneficiaries are traced for immediate claims of funds
and assets. Also considering the security aspect and validity period
with cheques and shipment delays caused by the Covid-19 restrictions,
the payout bank (NCBA) is authorized to load beneficiary's funds into
a new ATM visa card as the mode of payment. Your ATM card is accepted
worldwide with a $20,000 daily cash withdrawal limit and unlimited
card payment until your $10.7million is duly utilized. Kindly contact
the branch manager (Jeff Okulo) of NCBA Bank Kenya PLC in charge for
immediate clearance and onward delivery of your ATM card. Provide the
below information for identification, clearance and delivery of ATM
Full Name (As contained on your current proof of Identity or valid
government issued document) ..........
Address (Current home/office address for delivery of your ATM card) ............
Please endeavor to indicate the payment file registration number which
is ( ATM-GTC06349 ) to the assigned bank manager.
Contact the assigned agent Dr. Jeff Okulo with your information where
to deliver your ATM Card.
Contact name: Jeff Okulo
Email( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Inform me once you have received your ATM card.
Central Bank Foreign Remittance Department.