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:
- "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: "Alex Khaye" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 23:07:49 +0100
Subject: Our Ref: 11/02/10
OFFICE OF THE MINISTER FOR FINANCE
AND FINANCIAL MATTERS TO THE PRESIDENT
RE: PAYMENT NOTIFICATION / FINAL ORDER.
This is to draw your attention of your contract payment is still lying in the contract payment suspense
bank account with the Federal Government of Nigerian and authorized has been passed to effect
payment on her behalf, the only problem now is that we dictated a lot of irregularities involvements
attached to your payment file.
(1) Did you at any time delegate anybody not even from your family to claim your fund on your behalf?
(2) Were you involved in a motor accident?
(3) Are you aware or related to one Mr. Thomas Mick from your country?
Please reconfirm and answer the above questions. An individual Mr. Thomas Mick came to our foreign
contract payment department and submitted an application that you have authorized your contract
payment of US$32.5M to be paid into a bank account with the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS).
Account number UBS-A943BDG99. With the report that you are now paralyzed as a result of the
ghastly motor accident you had last month.
We have instructed Mr. Thomas Mick to forward your signed authorization letter/power of attorney
authorizing him to endorse your CONTRACT IRREVOCABLE PAYMENT RELEASE ORDER for onward
transfer of your contract payment.
The delay in the transferring the contract payment is due to the requested for a power of attorney
authorizing him to pursue this payment on your behalf. He asked for a week so as to submit the
documents, but up till now we have not received any of the documents from any of you. Why?
Please forward us the power of attorney by a return fax or by E-mail authorizing us to effect payment
into the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) nominated Bank account on your behalf without delay.
Thanks for your co-operation
Secretary to the Minister of Finance