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"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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Fraud email example:

From: "HSBC INQUIRY OFFICE" <> (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Nov 2004 00:15:15 -0800

We are conducting a standard process investigation on behalf of HSBC,
the international Banking conglomerate. This investigation involves a
client who shares the same surname with you and also the circumstances
surrounding investments made by this client at HSBC Republic,the
Private Banking arm of HSBC.

The HSBC Private Banking client died intestate and nominated no
successor in title over the investments made with the bank. The essence of this
communication with you is to request you provide us
information/comments on any or all of the four issues:

1-Are you aware of any relative/relation who shares your same name
whose last known contact address was Brussels Belgium?
2-Are you aware of any investment of considerable value made by such
a person at the Private Banking Division of HSBC Bank PLC?
3-Born on the 1st of october 1930
4-Can you establish beyond reasonable doubt your eligibility to assume
status of successor in title to the deceased?
It is pertinent that you inform us ASAP whether or not you are familiar
with this personality that we may put an end to this communication with
you and our inquiries surrounding this personality.You must appreciate that
we are constrained from providing you with more detailed information at
this point.
Please respond to this mail as soon as possible to afford us the
opportunity to close this investigation.
Thank you for accommodating our enquiry.
Bill Bricks
Bill Consults.

This e-mail and any attached files are from HSBC and are
confidential and may be legally privileged. If you are not the
addressee,any disclosure, reproduction, copying, distribution, or
other dissemination or use of this communication is strictly prohibited.
If you have received this transmission in error please notify the
sender immediately and then delete this e-mail. E-mail transmission cannot be
guaranteed to be secure or error free as information can be
intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete,
or contain viruses.
HSBC therefore does not accept any errors or omissions in the
contents of this message which arise as a result of e-mail

Anti-fraud resources: