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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "processing fee" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address looks like addresses used in "ATM SWIFT card" scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: joseph <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2011 05:28:40 +0800
Subject: Attention:Sole Beneficiary Customer's
ZENITH BANK BENIN REPUBLIC .
Director, Zenith Bank Benin Republic.
Zenith Bank Benin Republic .
TelFax Number: 0022-966-481-855 or +22-966-481-855.
PAYMENT NOTIFICATION OF YOUR INHERITANCE CLAIM FUNDS CREDITED INTO ATM MASTERCARD.
Attention:Sole Beneficiary Customer's
Definitely, I know that this letter will be a surprising one to you. Firstly, I will like to introduce myself formally as the New Appointed Director of The Zenith Bank Benin Republic .You are been officially contacted by me today because your Inheritance Funds were Re-deposited into the "Federal Suspense Account" of Zenith Bank Benin Republic last month, because you did not Claim your funds as the rightful beneficiary in our corresponding bank.
Well known to all, The Zenith BANK Benin Republic is the pan Bank of all commercial Banks here in Benin Republic. This morning at about (9:00am Standard Pacific Time) I was alerted by my Secretary that Three men and a Lady were at my Office reception waiting to see me and so I told my Secretary to lets them in.
To my surprise they were two Canadians and one Nigerian Attorney, and they introduced themselves as (Mr. Tim Parker, Mr. Roland Gulf, both from Canada), and accompanied with them was a Nigerian Attorney with the name (BARRISTER WILLIAMS EDOZIE).
Really these men were unexpected by me because their visit was impromptu. I had to ask them why they came to see me in person and they said that they were here to collect the Inheritance Bill Sum of ($10.5Millions) credited into atm mastercard which rightfully belongs to you, on your behalf. These foreigners actually claimed this beyond reasonable doubts.
At this development I asked them who authorized them to come down to BENIN REPUBLIC for the Collection of this Payment and they told me that you asked them to come and collect this funds on your Behalf. Infact this was the biggest shock that this Bank have ever received so far because your Inheritance funds of the sum ($10.5Millions) of atm mastercard is still in the "Federal Suspense Account" of Zenith Bank, yet you sent these men to come and collect this Funds on your behalf without Notifying us.
We in this Bank do not understand why you sent these men to come and Collect your Funds on your behalf. If actually you want them to help you collect your Inheritance Bill Sum of $10.5Millions of atm mastercard , at least you should have informed me as the Director of this Bank.
They actually tendered some vital documents which proved that you actually sent them for the collection of these Funds. Honestly, it really baffles me that you took such decision without my consent.
Listen very carefully to enable us know the truth in this matter. you need to contact below Email address immediately for confirmation.
contact person____Prof. Henry William.
Contact Email Address___(email@example.com)
Telephone Number___0022-966-481-855 or +22-966-481-855
Here is the documents which they tendered to this Bank today:
1. LETTER OF AUTHORITY.
2. IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT GUARANTEE.
Actually, these documents which they tendered to this Noble Bank are a clear Proof that you sent them to Collect this Funds for you. Finally, I told them to come back within three working days and they promised to come back and pay for the delivery and processing fee of the sum $180 on your behalf to enable them claim the inheritance bill sum of ($10.5M) credited into atm mastercard were Re-deposited into the "Federal Suspense Account" of Zenith Bank Benin Republic last month due to your relent/procrastination effort to come to claim it.
As the Governor of this Noble Bank, I was supposed to Release this Funds to them but I refused to do so because I wanted to hear from you first if the delivery and processing fee of the sum $180 can be taken care by this people to enable us release this inheritance claim bill sum of the ($10.5M) on their favour . Due to the Nature of my job, I will not want to make any mistake in releasing these funds to anyone except you whom is the recognized bonafide beneficiary to This Fund,so get back to this bank immediately to enable us instruction you what to do on this issue.
Kindly clarify us on this issue before we make this Payment to these foreigners whom came on your behalf. In receipt of this confidential Letter, you are required to call this Bank Immediately you receive this confidential Letter. Call Me 0022-966-481-855 or +22-966-481-855 or mail us to enable us proceed immediately.
DIRECTOR FOREIGN REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT ZENITH BANK BENIN REPUBLIC