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:
- "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)
- "offshore account" (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 next of kin scam.
- 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.
- +447024091621 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Barclays Bank Plc" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2011 15:37:14 +0800 (PHT)
Subject: INSTRUCTION ON HOW TO CREDIT YOUR ACCOUNT WITH THE SUM OF US$5,800,
Barclays Bank PLC
1 Churchill Place
London, E14 5HP, United Kingdom
We at this bank wish to congratulate and inform you that after thorough
Review of your Inheritance/Contract funds transfer release documents in
Conjunction with the Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund
Assessment report, your payment file was forwarded to us for immediate
Transfer of a part-payment US$5,800,000.00 to your designated bank account
from their offshore account with us.
The Audit reports given to us shows that you have been going through hard
Times by paying a lot of money to see to the release of your funds, which
Has been delayed by some dubious officials.
We therefore advice that you stop further communication with any
Correspondences outside this office since you do not have to pay any money
Or fee to receive your funds as you have met up with the whole funds
The only thing required from you is to obtain the Non-Residential
Clearance Form to enable us credit your account directly by telegraphic
Transfer or through any of our corresponding banks and send copies of the
Funds transfer release documents to you and your bankers for confirmation.
Should you follow our directives, your funds will be credited and reflect
in your bank account within five(5)bank working days from the day you
Obtain this Non-Residential Clearance Form.
For further details and assistance on this Remittance Notification, kindly
Forward your FULL CONTACT ADDRESS, TELEPHONE and FAX NUMBERS directly to
My private E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Head, International Banking Division.
Barclays Bank PLC, UK