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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "HSBC London Office" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2019 05:42:36 -0700
Subject: *****SPAM***** ALERT ABOUT YOUR FUNDS
HSBC BANK PLC LONDON.(REGISTERED NO.1026167).
ADDRESS:8 CANADA SQUARE, CANARY WHARF, LONDON E14 5HQ, UK..
We write to inform you that Series of meetings have been held over the past 2 weeks with the Secretary General of United Nations,U.S Department of State and Africa Union Organization this ended last week.
During the meeting, this organization discovered that you have not received your funds due to past corrupt Government Officials who almost held the funds to themselves for their selfish reason and some individuals who have taken advantage of your fund all in an attempt to defraud you, which has led to unnecessary delay in releasing the funds to you.
The United Nations/ U.S. Department of State and Africa Union Organization have successfully passed a payment mandate to our bank, to clear all over due Contract funds, Lottery winnings and Inheritance funds owed to you and other individuals/organizations who have been found not to have receive their long overdue payment.
A woman by name (MRS: CINDY MAY A CITIZEN OF USA) came to our office with an application stating that you gave her the power of attorney to be the beneficiary of your Outstanding funds. She made us to believe that you are dead and that she is your next of kin. We decided to send you email through this address hoping to find out if you are dead or alive and also to find out if you at any time gave this woman the power of attorney to represent you. We are almost ready to release part payment of $21.5M USD of your outstanding funds to her but we decided to contact you before we can take any action because of the sensitivity of the transaction and the amount of money that is involved:
For immediate release of your funds to you legally as the legal recipient if you did not authorize Cindy May, you are required to send YOUR FULL NAME, CURRENT ADDRESS, CELL PHONE AND FAX NUMBER for onward proceeding on how you are going to receive the said funds legally .You have 48hrs from now to do that.
Mr. John Flint
HSBC Executive Director and Group Chief Executive .