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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Sun Bank Offshore" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 1 May 2011 03:53:08 -0700
Subject: Urgent Notice Of Unclaimed Funds
Sun Bank Offshore, Jersey (Channel Islands).
Complements of the season! I am Mr. Eli V. Sheppard, the new Head of Audit/Accounting Department of Sun Bank Offshore, Jersey (Channel Islands). I was newly posted here from our Sun Bank Branch in Bahamas.
I write to inform you that I saw a draft bearing your name in one of the closed files in my office for a sum of £6,500,000 (Six Million Five Hundred Thousand pounds) with attached payment instruction from Bank of America N.C to be paid to you.
On further inquires, I observed that this payment was not made and the fund was transferred into our offshore transit account as unclaimed funds. I mean to say that you have funds here which have been floating in our transit account as unclaimed fund with principal sum of £6,500,000. This payment was made by bank draft with reference serial nr. 315548, Bank Sort code BARCGB22. Barclays Bank plc, UK.
After our bank reconciliatory statement for last year ending 2010, I also found out that your fund stumbled into an accumulated interest of £650,000 with a total principal value of £6,500,000. Your total sum in our Offshore Transit account as at 25th of January, 2011 is £7,150,000 (Seven Million, One Hundred and Fifty Thousand pounds) only.
Please take note of all these changes as I deemed it fit to let you know that your unclaimed fund is floating in our offshore transit account and also to give you little financial breakdown of your account statement.
Finally you cannot have access to the account since you have not officially opened an account with us as the fund is in your name but on transit.
We therefore seek for your urgent response to this notification to enable me direct you on how you will receive this unclaimed fund.
Mr. Eli V. Sheppard.
Head of Audit/Accounting Dept.