With a 419 scam, also known as an advanced fee scam, an SMS or email – often in broken English – is sent to a recipient, usually from someone with a sad story, claiming to be in a foreign country, and making an offer that would result in a large pay off for the recipient.
Most 419 scams ask for your banking details, and request you to make an advance payment as a ‘deposit’ to facilitate the payment of the funds. Not only will you never receive the money promised, but the scammers may also use your banking details to withdraw money from your account.
How to protect yourself from 419 scams
- If it looks too good to be true, it probably is
- There are no get-rich-quick schemes. The only people who make money are the scammers
- Do not let anyone pressurise you into making decisions about money or investments. Always get independent financial and/or legal advice
- Do not open suspicious or unsolicited emails, also known as spam. Delete these emails immediately without opening them
- Never reply to a spam email, even if it is to unsubscribe. By replying you are verifying your email address to the scammers
- Never send your personal, credit card or online account details in an email
- Money laundering is a criminal offence. Do not agree to transfer money for someone else. Don’t let the fact that a letter sounds enticing or genuine trick you
- If you still think the letter may be genuine, make sure you seek the advice of an independent professional (a lawyer, accountant or financial planner) before committing any money
- Be suspicious of any website that requires you to download an attachment or input information over an insecure or open connection. Not only is the website untrusted but the connection is susceptible to a man in the middle attack.
We will never ask you to update personal information like PINs or passwords via an email or over the phone. There is a lot of information about these scams available on the internet. If you would like to find out more, search online for “419 scams” or “advance fee”.