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:
- "your payment is being processed" (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)
- "million dollars" (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)
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- "calvary greetings" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "EDWARD JAMES" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 6 May 2013 14:37:24 +0100
Subject: PERSONAL AND HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL
INTERNATIONAL REMITANCE DEPARTMENT,
BARCLAYS BANK PLC,
PRIVATE BANKING SECTION,
75 LOMBARD STREET EC3P AH,
PERSONAL AND HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL
CALVARY GREETINGS TO YOU
I AM MR. JAMES EDWARD, HEAD INTL REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT, MY OFFICE MONITORS AND CONTROLS THE AFFAIRS OF ALL OTHER BANKS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS IN LONDON (UK). I AM THE FINAL SIGNATORY TO ANY TRANSFER OR REMITTANCE OF HUGE FUNDS MOVING WITHIN BANKS BOTH ON THE LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS.
I HAVE BEFORE ME LIST OF FUNDS, WHICH COULD NOT BE TRANSFERRED TO SOME NOMINATED ACCOUNTS AS THESE ACCOUNTS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED EITHER AS GHOST ACCOUNTS, UNCLAIMED DEPOSITS AND OVER-INVOICED SUM ETC. YOUR NAME WAS AMONG THE PEOPLE EXPECTING THE FUNDS TO BE TRANSFERRED INTO THEIR ACCOUNT, ON THIS NOTE; I WISH TO HAVE A DEAL WITH YOU AS REGARDS TO YOUR UNPAID FUNDS. I HAVE YOUR FILE BEFORE ME AND HOPE YOUR DATA'S ARE CORRECT AND UN-TAMPERED UNLESS U RECONFIRMS IT.
AS IT IS MY DUTY TO RECOMMEND THE TRANSFER OF THESE SURPLUS FUNDS TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT TREASURY AND RESERVE ACCOUNTS AS UNCLAIMED DEPOSITS, I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO WRITE YOU BASED ON THE INSTRUCTIONS I RECEIVED 2 DAYS AGO FROM THE BRITISH COMMITTEE ON CONTRACT PAYMENTS / FOREIGN DEBTS TO SUBMIT THE LIST OF PAYMENT REPORTS / EXPENDITURES AND AUDITED REPORTS OF REVENUES.
AMONG SEVERAL OTHERS, I HAVE DECIDED TO REMIT YOUR CONTRACT SUM FOLLOWING MY IDEA THAT WE HAVE A DEAL/AGREEMENT AND I AM GOING TO DO THIS LEGALLY.
I WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR PAYMENT IS BEING PROCESSED AND WILL BE RELEASED TO YOU AS SOON AS YOU RESPOND TO THIS LETTER. ALSO NOTE THAT FROM MY RECORD IN MY FILE YOUR OUTSTANDING CONTRACT PAYMENT IS $17.5MILLION DOLLARS (SEVENTEEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS).
1. THE SUM OF USD$2M.ONLY WILL PAID INTO AN ACCOUNT I WILL PROVIDE YOU AFTER YOU HAVE CONFIRMED THE TRANSFER OF YOUR SUM INTO YOUR ACCOUNT BY TELEGRAPHIC TRANSFER (T/T), CONFIRMABLE IN 3 WORKING DAYS.
2. THIS DEAL MUST BE KEPT BTWEEN ME AND YOU FOREVER, AND ALL CORRESPONDENCE WILL BE STRICTLY BY EMAIL / TELEPHONE, FOR SECURITY PURPOSES.
3. THERE SHOULD BE NO THIRD PARTIES AS MOST PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR FUND RELEASE ARE CAUSED BY YOUR AGENTS OR REPRESENTATIVE.
BELOW ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO FACILITATE THE TRANSFER PROCESS:
A. YOUR FULL NAMES
B. YOUR HOME ADDRESS
C. YOUR BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION
D. YOUR BUSINESS/OCCUPATION
E. YOUR PRIVATE TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBERS.
ALL THE RELEVANT INFORMATION SHALL BE FORWARDED TO ME, OPON MY RECEIPT OF THE ABOVE REQUESTED DATES ABOUT YOU.
IF YOU AGREE WITH MY CONDITIONS, L ADVICE YOU ON WHAT TO DO IMMEDIATELY AND THE TRANSFER WILL COMMENCE WITHOUT DELAY AS I WILL PROCEED TO FAX YOUR NAME ON THE PAYMENT SCHEDULE INSTANTLY TO MEET THE THREE DAYS MANDATE. I HOPE YOU DON'T REJECT THIS OFFER AND HAVE YOUR FUNDS.
WAITING FOR YOUR REPLY SOON.
YOURS IN SERVICE,
MR. JAMES EDWARD
HEAD INTL REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT
BARCLAYS BANK PLC, LONDON UK