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:
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal high court" (This court is often mentioned in '419' scams to give the victim a reason why he/she should send thousands of dollars to the scammers. A 'Federal High Court' exists in Germany and Nigeria, but not in other countries, such as the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Senegal, Benin, South Africa or other countries where fake lawyers in scams often claim to be based. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr John Bright <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2019 10:28:25 -0700
Subject: YOUR URGENT REPLY IS NEEDED NOW
This is to inform you that in the course of my investigation as director
of payment verification / implementation committee I came across your
name as unpaid fund beneficiary in the record of the central bank. My
committee was set up by the attorney general to verify and scrutinize
all outstanding debts owed to our foreign beneficiaries in accordance to
the information received from the United States government And European
,Asia Empowered By United Nations over unpaid huge debts owed to United
States citizens and European ,Asia Citizens as well and Others Countries
Having seen your file and my further questioning to the officials of the
central bank as to why your payment is still pending reveals the rot and
corruption in the system. The bank officials told me that the reason why
you havenât received payment is due to your inability to pay for the
required charges for transfer of funds to your account. When I asked
them why they didnât deduct the said charges from your principal sum, I
was given the flimsy excuse that you never authorized them to do so.
When I put the question across to them if they ever advised you that
such charges could be deducted from your principal fund,the answer I got
was no. Now, if you do not tell this beneficiary that such charges could
be deducted from his or her principal fund, how will he or she know that
such options are available for such beneficiaries.
From my investigation I discovered that these bank officials
deliberately refused to let the charges be deducted from your principal
fund because they want your fund to remain trapped in the bank, while
they continue to extort money from beneficiaries under some flimsy
excuse. You do not need to pay any money to any official, all you are
required to do is swear to an affidavit at the federal high court of
Benin Republic, authorizing the bank to deduct all charges from your
principal fund and transfer the balance of funds after deduction to your
bank account. If you have spent any money in the past in your quest for
payment, kindly let me know so that I can follow this up.You can reach
me on my email address for directive on how you can get the deduction
done as soon as possible and get payment.
Mr John Bright.
The Chaiman of Treasury
Department to Federal
Ministry of Finance