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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "come down to united kingdom" (these scammers pretend to be based in the UK, but they are really in Africa)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: CITI BANK PLC <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 2021 07:18:40 -0700
Subject: FUND OF $12,500,000.00USD CLAIM IN YOUR ABSENT.
I know that this letter will be a surprising one to you....Firstly, I will
like to introduce myself formally as Mr Tim Cooper, The bank Area Director of The
CITI BANK OF UNITED KINGDOM, You are been officially contacted by me be cause your Inheritance Funds were Re-deposited into the "UK" Suspense Account" of CITI BANK PLC UNITED KINGDOM, last week, because you did not Claim your funds as the Rightful beneficiary in our Corresponding bank.
Well known to all. This morning at about (9:00am Standard Pacific Time), I
was alerted by my Secretary that Three men were at my Office Reception
waiting to see me and so I told my Secretary to let them in.
I had to ask them why they came to see me in person and they said that they
were here to Collect the Inheritance Bill Sum
of $12,500,000.00USD) which rightfully Belongs to you, on your behalf.
These foreigners actually claimed this beyond reasonable doubts. At this
development I asked them who authorized them to come down to United Kingdom
for the Collection of this Payment and they told me that you asked them to
come and collect this Funds on your Behalf.
In-fact this was the biggest shock that this Bank have ever received so far
because your Inheritance Funds is still in the UK Suspense Account of
Citi's Bank, yet you sent these men to come and collect this Funds on
your behalf without notifying us. We in this Bank do not understand why you
sent these men to come and Claim your Funds on your behalf. Kindly clarify
us on this issue before we make this Payment to these foreigners whom came
on your behalf. In receipt of this confidential Letter, you are required to
call email this bank.
Area Citi Bank Bank