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:
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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.
Fraud email example:
Subject: Re: DID YOU AUTHORIZED TRANSFER TO SWISS BANK ACCOUNT ?
My name is David Moore newly posted to Nigeria from the International Monetary Fund of the United Kingdom. Because of the fraudulent activities of some of the officials at the Central Bank of Nigeria and our United Kingdom office, I have been directed to observe the payment of foreign beneficiaries of contract funds and inheritance claim funds.
I observed a floating payment in your name here where I work as a supervisor but the payment was designated to:
Bank Name:UBS SA Bank Address:CASE POSTALE 2600.1211
GENEVE 2 SWITZERLAND Account Holder:REMY BOUZARD Bank
account No. USD:777180.60G Clearing:0240 Bank S W I F
T-BIC:UBSWCHZH80A Iban :CH26 0024 0240 7771 8060G
I decided to contact you because I observed that there is a power of attorney in your file authorizing the transfer of this fund to a Switzerland bank account but the signatures in the power of attorney is different from the signature in your file which is an illegal attempt to divert the fund to an account in Switzerland.
Please confirm if you have authorized the transfer of this fund to the Switzerland Bank account as we have authorization to transfer funds to all beneficiaries of fund discounting all charges attached from the sources. If you have authorized your fund transferred to the above stated bank account, please contact me urgently.