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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "consignment " (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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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: Richard Martins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2010 11:16:16 +0100
Subject: Dr. Rich here
Please pardon me if I have offended you by contacting you for this mutual
transaction assistance through an ordinary letter.
However, it was my plan to explain this transaction to you on a face to face
meeting, but I could not do so of my current situation. Like I introduced
myself in my first short message to you, I am Dr Richard Martins, a British
Consultant and Broker. I was hired by a Japanese Businessman to broker an
investment deal between him and an oil company in Venezuela.
This deal was executed in January, 2003 and matured for termination in
January 2005. On maturity, the Japanese Businessman and the oil firm decided
to terminate the investment in cash to avoid payment of investment Tax which
amounted to lots of US Dollars to the American Internal Revenue Service
(IRS). A special arrangement was made between a top Japanese bankers working
with Japanese bank in New York, the Oil Company and the businessman to
terminate the investment in cash payment under a fictitious name, with an
Arrangement to change it later with a power of attorney which they Prepared
and handed over to the banker.
I was directly involved, and mandated to organized and carry out the deal.
All the cash was withdrawn in June 2005 and transported to EUROPE by direct
bank vault delivery to a Finance/Security company for Safekeeping pending
The real content of the boxes was not declared to the storage as it was
delivered and tagged as Personal Family Treasure worth US$25M. The
Certificates for the storage, Secret Codes for the opening of the Boxes and
its keys were all handed over to me. Mr. Takashi the Florida Businessman was
planning to go to Europe by August 2005 with me for the collection when the
unexpected happened in Hurricane Katrina Mishap, a Natural disaster which
claimed his life and that of the top banker.
This left me devastated and confused as I have not yet handed over the
Deposit details to the owner and the power of attorney prepared for the
Change which was signed was still with the banker in his office which was
lost. Since last December the diplomatic storage manager has been calling me
to bring or tell the owner to come over for collection, since the period
recorded for collection of the funds as Consignment has elapsed and it has
entered into demurrage.
Since then, I have been carefully looking for any reliable person to collect
these Consignments under special and well negotiated arrangement until I
came across your details.
Be rest assured that this transaction has been well organized, 100% safe,
legal, and should be kept very confidential.
Signify your interest by getting back to me via my email as soon as