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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- ",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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Email Notice From" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2019 19:05:08 -0700
Office Of The Director,
Christopher A. Wray,
Federal Bureau Of Investigation,
935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW, Washington, D.C. 20535-0001, USA.
The attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been directed by our International Operations Division on your transaction with the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) concerning your over-due inheritance/contract payment. It might interest you to learn that we have fully analyzed the transaction as stipulated by our Investigative Operational Guidelines and have confirmed that it is 100% genuine and hitch-free, and of which you have the legitimate right to claim.
We recently had our spring meetings with the Governor of the National Bank of Belgium, Mr. Ronald J. Gidwitz and some top officials of the ministry regarding the subject matter and we were led to understand that your payment file was held in abeyance pending when you apply for its claim. But the major challenges facing the Bank are (i). Some unscrupulous elements are using this project as an avenue to scam innocent people off their hard-earned money by impersonating the Governor or an official of the National Bank of Belgium. (ii). A woman named Mrs. Linda Box, from New York submitted an application to NBB with a power of attorney and some official documents (allegedly signed by you) before the release of your Funds (US$8,000,000.00) to her due to your ill health.
Because of all these, we have been urged to warn beneficiaries who have received information about their outstanding inheritance/contract payment to be very careful, in order not to be a victim of circumstance. In case you are already dealing with someone from the National Bank of Belgium/Any Bank or whichever office, you are strictly advised to DESIST from further communication with that individual in your best interest, and thereby contact the real office of the National Bank of Belgium via the below information:
Name: Mr. Pierre Wunsch
Office Address: Boulevard De Berlaimont 14
1000 Brussels, Belgium
NOTE: You should ignore any message that does not come from the above email address for security reasons. And to enable the National Bank of Belgium to process and release the fund to you, you are required to re-confirm your full details such as:
Your Full name:
Contact Home Address:
Your Cell Phone Number:
Your Date of Birth:
Ensure that you abide by the National Bank of Belgium due process in line with the International Banking Secrecy Act, to avoid any form of a discrepancy, which may hinder your funds' transfer.
Thanks for your understanding and cooperation as we earnestly await your urgent reply.
Christopher A. Wray,
Federal Bureau of Investigation