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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "Mrs. Robin Sanders" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 03:31:51 -0800
Subject: From. Mrs. Robin Sanders ABOUT YOUR FUND.
>From Office Of Mrs. Robin Sanders Renee
American Ambassador to Nigeria
From. Mrs. Robin Sanders Renee
This is to inform you that I came to Nigeria on Monday, after series of complains from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia, Europe, Oceania, Antarctica, South America and the United States of America respectively, against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the rate of scam/fraudulent activities going on in their country.
The stopping instruction from the office of the presidency came to our notice to stop the out going transfer which your Fund was among the list. The stopping instruction came as a result of the new Beneficiary and the new bank account, with this new development the Foreign Debt Reconciliation Committee and the Finance Minister has set up a verification Panel on your due contract payment file which has been endorsed and approved for payment awaiting for your final confirmation in view of this sudden changes you have to get back to this office to confirm the new account submitted to Central Bank for this transfer on your behalf.
(1) This Office has just received a registered sworn affidavit, to re-route your payment into a new bank account number as stated: Union Bank Of California, 1700 Robin Hood Road, Richmond, CA 23220. Account number 32501, routing muner 900786654 Beneficiary name Mr. Gregory Dennis. The Amount is US$10.5m USD.(Ten Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) This is the only reason why you have not received your fund.
(2) You have to get back to this office with the copy of confirmation letter or power of attorney if you have instructed Mr. Gregory Dennis the right to change and appoint a new Attorney on your behalf thereby asking that they receive cash call remittance on your behalf.
(3) It has come to our notice that you are being contacted by unauthorized Individuals in respect to your payment but unfortunately this office is not aware of your unofficial dealings and be warned that it is at your own risk if you continue with this contact.
The Foreign Debt Reconciliation Committee have to contact you to verify the relationship between you and Mr. Gregory Dennis as he tried to change all your details through the sworn affidavit into a new different bank account details . You are advised to call me or email back upon the receipt of this mail to enable this office know and advice you on how to handle this matter without any hitch.
I have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria here so I would like you to urgently respond to this message so that I can advise you on how best to confirm your fund in your account within the next 72 hours.
Note: Make sure you send your Reply To firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Robin Sanders Renee
American Ambassador to Nigeria
Warning: Failure to adhere to this Mail with the Instructions you will be doing so at your own risk and should not hold this Office responsible for the non-payment of their Foreign Exchange Payment.