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)
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "CustomerCare" <CustomerCare@firstwesternbank.net>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2013 10:07:06 +0500
Subject: Attention Please
I am Martinz Philips. (Customer Service officer) First Western Bank Ghana.
We received instruction from our financial authorities and BNI
Investigation Unit of Ghana to remit the contractual/inheritance funds
pending unclaimed since. While we are processing your payment file today,
it was discovered that your fund beneficiary name has been changed and
replaced. As a matter of the change, the bank's remittance director
ordered that we stop the payment until we get a mandate from you
authenticating this change. If you are aware of this development, please
kindly confirm to us the name of the new beneficiary but if not please
furnish us with the following information to enable update our data here
before subsequent processing and transfer of your fund $7.5 Million
Dollar without further delay.
Date Of Birth:
Country of residence:
Any Valid means of Identification(scan copy):
Upon the receipt of the aforementioned information, we will swing into
action to process and remit your fund without further delay. We appeal to
you to remain calm while we do our best to make sure that your fund is
transfer to you.
I am waiting for your urgent reply.