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:
- "million 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)
- ",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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: BARCLAYS BANK PLC
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2015 21:30:53 +0100
Subject: URGENT CHANGE OF BENEFICIARY 04.12.2015
FROM: MR JON STEWART
BARCLAYS BANK PLC.
54 ANTHONY WAY,
URGENT CHANGE OF BENEFICIARY
This is very urgent and an urgent attention is needed.
In our office today, was a present of One Mr. Steve Moore of 1200 Fitch Way, Sacramento, Ca. 95864 along with his attorney filing application contrary to your pending fund transfer. The above mentioned persons visited this Bank with a power of attorney given in his favor by your humble self, granting him the benefit to process and claim your inheritance of $5,000,000.00(Five Million United States Dollars Only) for personal reasons.
He further Stated that your online account with us be Terminated while the fund should be wired to his Bank account with Bank Of America, Routing Number 121000358. Our office have ask Mr. Steve Moore to return back to the Bank within 48hours to enable us have a personal confirmation from you being known the beneficiary to this fund. Therefore,
1. Did you instruct one Mr. Steve Moore of 1200 Fitch Way, Sacramento, Ca. 95864, to claim and receive the payment on your behalf?
2. Did you sign any 'Deed of Assignment' in his favor thereby making him the current beneficiary?
We are sorry to have delayed your instruction in giving out this fund since we must adhere to the procedures of this honorable bank by making sure this request is verified and confirmed by the beneficiary.
Your confirmation to the above will be appreciated. We look forward to hearing from you soon via this email (email@example.com)
Mr. JON STEWART
Head of Operations.
Barclays Bank Plc