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:
- "tax clearance" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "tax clearance" (Tax offices mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. Even after you pay their fake tax demands you will still not receive the non-existent funds you have been promised. )
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Nancy Moore." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2018 03:33:36 -0700
Subject: Attention, Beneficiary
Bank of America (BofA)
International Payments Branch
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington DC 20004
RE: INSTRUCTIONS TO CREDIT YOUR ACCOUNT
We wish congratulate and inform you that after thorough review of
your Inheritance/Contract funds transfer release documents by the
British Government in conjunction with the US Central Bank and the
International Monetary Fund Assessment Unit U.S.A, your payment file
has been forwarded to us for immediate Release/transfer of your full
part-payment of US$5,800,000.00 to your designated bank account from
the offshore account they hold with us.
Therefore; you have been approved and cleared for payment, as The
Audit reports given to us shows that you have been going through hard
times paying a lot of money to see to the release of your funds which
was being delayed by some dubious officials. We therefore advice that
you stop further communications with any correspondence outside this
office since you do not have to pay any money or fee to receive your
funds as you have met all of the funds transfer requirements.
The only thing required of you is to obtain the (Non-Residential Tax
Clearance Form) from the Financial Service Authority (FSA) to enable
us credit your account directly by telegraphic transfer or through any
of our corresponding banks and send copies of the funds transfer
release documents to you and your bankers for confirmation.
Should you follow our directives, your funds will be credited and will
reflect in your bank account within five (5) bank working days from
the day you obtain the Non-Residential Clearance Form.
For further details and assistance on this Remittance Notification,
kindly forward your FULL CONTACT ADDRESS, TELEPHONE and FAX NUMBERS to
Mrs. Nancy Moore.
Head, International Banking Division.
Bank of America, Washington DC