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:
- "u.k " (this email uses bad English)
- "dormant 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Sarah Finder" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 10:47:34 -0800
Subject: Payment Availability
During the recent conduct of our annual bank account audit and bank
sheet-balance, it came to our notice that your funds valued at a total
sum of £525,000.00 GBP that was deposited with us several years ago in
fixed bonds by the U.K international Online lottery administrators, being
one of its beneficiaries from a previous lottery draw, is still unclaimed.
We have since being waiting for you to contact us for these funds,
after waiting several months, running into years, we decided to engage in a
sustained campaign of correspondence and active tracing, just to reach
you and considering the fact that there is no stated next of kin in the
claims file, the government intends to confiscate these unclaimed funds of
yours in a short time, since you have not come forward to redeem your claims.
The above move by the government comes ahead of plans to transfer all
unclaimed funds, and funds in dormant accounts into government coffers
under its unclaimed assets scheme, in which these monies realised would then
be used to fund community projects.
The government has directed banks, building societies and all related
financial institutions to mandatorily re-unite as many customers,
clients, unclaimed funds beneficiaries and dormant account owners with their
forgotten or unclaimed funds before the scheme is launched.
Your fund is currently recorded on the unclaimed assets register - a
database holding details of all forgotten savings-deposits,
investments and unclaimed premium bond prizes.
You are however advised to immediately contact us with the detail, such as your full names and direct telephone numbers
here-under stated to enable the processing and remission of your
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
FOR: HALIFAX BANK PLC
HALIFAX BANK PLC
Tel:+44 70359 95653
Please do endeavour to contact us via the above mentioned email within
3 working days of this notice for the immediate processing and remission
of your unclaimed funds to avoid a possible and imminent Government
confiscation of your unclaimed funds.
You are advised to act swiftly and accordingly. And please do
acknowledge receipt of this email notification as it is of great import that you