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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "first national bank" (not involved with lotteries)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transfer of your funds" (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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "international remittance department" (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +447045734213 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +448709741509 (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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: HSBC BANK LONDON <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 10:45:29 -0500
Subject: ALERT FROM BANK IN RESPECT TO YOUR FUND ////
HSBC BANK PLC LONDON.(REGISTERED NO.1026167).
ADDRESS: 8 CANADA SQUARE LONDON , E14 5HQ ,
We write to inform you that Series of meetings have been held over the past 2 weeks with the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization, International Community Board and U.S .Department of State and Africa Union Organization this ended last week.
During the meeting, this organization discovered that you have not received your funds due to past corrupt Governmental Officials who almost held the fund to themselves for their selfish reason and some individuals who have taken advantage of your fund all in an attempt to swindle your fund which has led to so many losses from your end and unnecessary delay in the receipt of your fund.
The International Community Board Committee enhanced by the United Nations/ U.S. Department of State and Africa Union Organization have successfully passed a payment mandate to our bank, to clear all over due Contract funds, Lottery winnings and Inheritance funds owed to you and other individuals and organizations who have been found not to have receive their funds.
A woman by name (MRS: CINDY MAY) came to our office with an application stating that you gave her the power of attorney to be the beneficiary of your Outstanding funds. She made us to believe that you are dead and that she is your next of kin. We decided to send an email through this address hoping to find out if you are dead or alive and also to find out if you at any time gave this woman the power of attorney to represent you.
Please let us know also if you are aware that we are almost ready to transfer part payment of $21.5M USD of your outstanding funds to her nominated bank account stated below:
NAME OF BANK: FIRST NATIONAL BANK
ADDR: 120 SO. 2nd. ST. BLYTHEVILLE, ARKANSAS 72315 USA
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 482986
ROUTING NUMBER: 084107343
Swift code: WMSBUS66
BENEFICIARY: CINDY MAY
Do respond to this email immediately by contacting the Chairman of the International remittance department (Mr. Douglas Flint) on his contact information stated below:
Direct Telephone Number: +44-70-45734213
Fax Number: + 44-870-9741509
For immediate transfer of your funds, you are required to send to him an email with YOUR FULL NAME, CURRENT ADDRESS, CELL PHONE AND FAX NUMBER.
Mr. Alex Hungate.
HSBC BANK PLC LONDON.