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:
- 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:
- "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)
- ",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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "lagos" (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.
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "BARCLAYS BANK PLC" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2013 10:34:00 +0100
Subject: URGENT CONFIRMATION..
FROM: MR FRED WILSON
BARCLAYS BANK PLC.
4 PERRY CLOSE LEKKI,
CHANGE OF BENEFICIARY
This is very urgent and an urgent attention is needed.
In our office today, was a present of One Mr. John T. Kehoe of 1200 Fitch Way, Sacramento, Ca. 95864 filing application contrary to your pending fund transfer. The above mentioned people visited this Bank yesterday with a power of attorney given in his favor by your good self, granting him the benefit to process and claim your inheritance of $5,000,000.00(Five Million United States Dollars Only) for personal reasons.
He further Stated that the online account be Terminated while the fund should be wired to his Bank account with Bank Of America, Routing Number 121000358.Our office have ask Mr. John T. Kehoe return back to the Bank within 48hours to enable us have a personal confirmation from you being hitherto the beneficiary.
1. Did you instruct one Mr. John T. Kehoe of 1200 Fitch Way, Sacramento, Ca. 95864,to claim and receive the payment on your behalf?
2. Did you sign any 'Deed of Assignment' in his favor thereby making him the current beneficiary?
We are sorry to have delayed your instruction in giving out this fund since we must adhere to the procedures of this honorable bank by making sure this request is verified and confirmed by the beneficiary and his existing attorney.
Your confirmation to the above will be appreciated. We look forward to hearing from you soon via this email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mr. Fred Wilson
Head of Operations.
Barclays Bank Plc
Tel: +234 703-426-9728