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:
- "million 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)
- "million 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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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.
- 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: "Barr. Kenneth Harris" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2010 01:36:06 -0700
Subject: YOUR FUND IS APPROVED FOR BANK TO BANK TRANSFER.
I am Barrister Kenneth Harris the newly appointed verification officer to look into cases of contract/inheritance payment belonging to Foreigners whose payment are long over due.
I am pleased to inform you that your ATM CARD valued $10.8 Million United States Dollars has been returned back to the Zenith Bank, Benin which is the issuing Bank for a direct wire transfer into your Bank Account. In support of your claim of the funds, I also submitted a "PROOF OF FUND OWNERSHIP CERTIFICATE" in your favour to the Bank for them to recognize you as the rightful beneficiary once you contact them.
Now you are advised to contact the Director of Foreign Remittance Operations Department of Zenith Bank to advise you on how you will receive your $10,800,000.00 Million dollars via telegraphic wire transfer into your Bank account by Bank-Bank wire process. As soon as you contact the Zenith Bank, you should request for the "FUND TRANSFER APPLICATION FORM" it will be given to you to fill out and return to the Bank according to their instructions for immediate wire transfer of your $10,800,000.00 into your choice Bank Account in anywhere in the world.
Below is the contact information of the Director:
Mr. Mike Wayas.
Director Foreign Remittance Dept.,
Zenith Bank, Benin Republic.
Do feel free to call Mr. Mike Wayas on phone as soon as you send email to him because your call would facilitate the immediate attention to you due to his tight schedule.
I await your update after contacting him.
Barr. Kenneth Harris.