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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Timothy F. Geithner" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:43:35 -0700
Subject: AMOUNT TO BE CLAIMED: $36,500,000.00usd
DEPARTMENT OF INT'L AFFAIRS
(Office of the Under Secretary)
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington D.C. 20220
I am Mr.Timothy F. Geithner, Under Secretary for International Affairs
of the United States Treasury Department and was sworn in as the 75th
Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury in a
ceremony attended by President Barack H. Obama, and Vice President
Joseph R. Biden Jr. , see below:
Following series of complains from Citizens of the United States as
well as Citizens of Other Countries In Europe over the Discrepancies
and fraudulent ways in which fund transfers are handled by Africans
which has made it impossible for a lot of People to claim their
Winning or Inheritance funds from most African Countries due to frauds
and illegal activities, A decision was reached recently by the United
States Treasury Department under the authority of the White House to
compel African Financial bodies (Banks) to urgently release all funds
of American and European citizens that are trapped in most Banks and
Courier Companies in Africa. It was discovered that some bureaucratic
bottlenecks was put by these Banks and Couriers to make it impossible
for beneficiaries to claim their funds so that they will fraudulently
divert those funds to their private accounts.
Consequent upon the aforementioned, I was personally mandated to
handle this matter to ensure that all funds of our Citizens and others
which are fraudulently being trapped in African Banks are urgently
retrieved and paid to the actual Beneficiaries under a legal manner.
Our team of experts were delegated to Benin Republic, Nigeria, Ivory
Coast and Ghana for this task and we discovered your File NO:
BR227/9005666/00 as unclaimed fund.It was discovered that officials of
the Bank has only put up illegal requirements in order to make it
difficult for you to claim your fund.
The United States Department of Treasury has retrieved all Files of
illegal transactions and we will be working under a legitimate
arrangement to ensure that you follow the normal process to receive
your fund.You are requested to Re-confirm the following information to
Barr.Anderson Jack Bernard by e-mail: email@example.com
2. OTHER NAMES
3. PHONE NUMBER
5. AMOUNT TO BE CLAIMED: $36,500,000.00usd
Be informed that the above information will only enable us to make due
confirmation. We shall ensure that normal process is followed to
ensure that your fund gets to you without delay.Contact Barr.Anderson
Jack Bernard who is right in Benin Republic as the Legal Practitioner
to United States Department of Treasury e-Mail below:
(firstname.lastname@example.org) Call Barr.Anderson Jack Bernard his phone
for urgent attention: +229-9858 7377
Mr. Timothy F. Geithner