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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "here in united kingdom" (this email uses bad English)
- "inland revenue" (Tax offices mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. Even after you pay their fake tax demands you will still not receive the non-existent funds you have been promised. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- +447045772860 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +447092986317 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Lin Homer" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2012 17:42:27 -0000
Subject: Warning - Payment Directive Enclosed
FROM THE OFFICE OF MS. LIN HOMER
HM Revenue & Customs - 100 Parliament Street
London, SW1A 2BQ. United Kingdom
Director: Key Tested Wire Transfer Department
Telephone: 070 4577 2860 (Int:+447045772860)
Message: Sole Beneficiary
File Code: RC/8366-32
I am Ms. Lin Homer, the Chief Executive Officer of the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in United Kingdom. I am contacting you today because I want to apologize to you for the delay in releasing your fund into your account. Following the recent email concerning the issues delaying the payment of your awarded inheritance fund here in United Kingdom, we have reviewed several cases and have approved to release most unpaid funds in United Kingdom which includes contract/inheritance funds, Gambling/Lottery awarded funds (sponsored by multinational companies) and other international suspended/withheld funds yet to be paid to its beneficiary's account.
In view of the above, we have immensely sorted out issues with the regional financial units in charge of your transaction and our extensive investigation confirmed that you are the original beneficiary shortlisted to receive an unpaid sum of $15,000,000.00 USD. According to the information received, those representing you have failed to credit your funds into your international bank account and any correspondence in regards to your claim sent to them again, we will not be able to help nor advice you outside our jurisdiction and dispensation of power and duty. Furthermore, different individuals have been writing to us regularly to approve and pay them your fund which is presently being processed for payment to your account through my department. Another bank account was provided to us by these individuals and if you have not informed anyone to redirect your funds into another international account, please update us before we are contacted again.
We therefore request that you forward a copy of your drivers license or international passport (any identification document) within 7 working days from the receipt of this letter. This review is being undertaken to ensure that we confirm to the latest regulatory requirement of the Inland Revenue Services (IRS) before you are issued a W-8BEN FORM APPLICATION FOR PAYMENT. If an up to date completed W-8BEN FORM together with a scanned copy of your drivers license or international passport (any identification document) is not received from you after 7days from the day of the receipt of this letter, you will be enlisted as undocumented and all payments approved on your name will be suspended.
For more information, kindly forward all inquires and requirements for confirmation.
Ms. Lin Homer.
(Chief Executive Officer).
HM Revenue & Customs
Disclaimer: The information in this email and in any files transmitted with it is intended only for the addressee and contains confidential and/or privileged material. Access to this email by anyone else is unauthorized. If you receive this in error, please contact the sender immediately and delete the material from your computer. If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is strictly prohibited.