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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "DEPARTMENT OF INT'L AFFAIRS" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2015 03:59:18 +0600 (BDT)
Subject: ATTENTION: URGENT REPLY NEEDED...
DEPARTMENT OF INT'L AFFAIRS
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington D.C. 20220.
Accept our Apology,
I am Mr. Timothy F. Geithner, Under Secretary for International Affairs of
the United States Department of Treasury 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: http://www.treas.gov/organization/bios/geithner-e.shtml
Following series of complaints 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
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
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 was 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
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 J
.Bernard by e-mail:
Your full name:.
Your correct delivery Address:.
Your Tel/Fax number:.
Your occupation and marital status:.
Your Int'l Passport or ID CARD.
Amount to claim:$10.5musd,
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 J. Bernard who is right in Benin Republic as the
Legal Practitioner to United States Department of Treasury e-Mail below: (
email@example.com ) +22999476512 Call Barr. Anderson J.
Mr. Timothy F. Geithner (Under Secretary)