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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Jacob J. Lew" <Lew7@myofficenet.info>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2016 11:08:55 +0100
Subject: PAYMENT NOTIFICATION!!!
43 Green Lanes
N12 4BS London
The International Affairs of the United States Treasury Department. A member of the Cabinet.I am Jacob J. Lew the current Secretary of the Treasury and was sworn in on February 28, 2013.
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 Contract 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 in Africa. It was discovered that some bureaucratic bottlenecks was put by these Banks 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 by the Treasury 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 Beneficiary under a legal manner. Our team of experts were delegated to Nigeria for this task and we discoverred your File NO: NG227/9005666/00 with your unclaimed fund of with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It was discovered that officials of the Bank has only put up illegal requirements in order to make it diffucult 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 us by e-mail:
2. OTHER NAMES
3. PHONE NUMBER AND FAX.
5. AMOUNT TO BE CLAIMED.
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.
Jacob J. Lew
Department of the Treasury