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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Barclays Bank Plc" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2012 18:40:54 +0100
Subject: Re: Message From Barclays Bank Plc
Barclays Bank Plc,
1 Churchill Place,
London, E14 5HP,
RE: INSTRUCTIONS TO CREDIT YOUR ACCOUNT WITH THE SUM OF US$6,500,000.00
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 World Bank and the International Remittance Division assessment report, your payment file was forwarded to us for immediate transfer of a part payment US$6,500,000.00 to your designated bank account from their offshore account with us.
The Auditors reports forwarded 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 correspondence 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 transfer requirements.
Should you follow our directives, your funds will be credited and confirm in your bank account within five (5) bank working days. Kindly fill/complete the attached form and send back to us along with your IDENTIFICATION (international passport or driving license) to enable us start processing your fund transfer.
Mr David Robert
Foreign Banking Division
Barclay's Bank Plc, UK.