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:
- "million dollars" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (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: "INNA PATARKATSISHVILI" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2010 00:53:39 +0100
I am Inna Gudavadze wife of late Georgian billionaire Mr Badri Patarkatsishvili . For a year now, i have been on exile as there have been attempts on my daughters' lives and mine, investigation reveals that my husband's associate (Joseph Kay) is behind this attempts on our lives due to inheritance feuds that has ensued since the demise of my husband, although the situation is been handled in several world courts. For this reason , we have been in hiding at an island some where around the South Pacific Ocean, precisely America Samoa, we have peace and if i must say we intend relaxing and living a peaceful established life, though on the low till this situation is resolved. Before the demise of my deposited, he deposited the sum of $312.5 million dollars in a United kingdom bank in my daughter's name on her 27th Birthday. As it is at the moment, we(my daughters and i) would need your assistance in processing and retrieving this sum by granting you the General power of Attorney!
, without our presence and disclos
Note that this is a very intensive project that you are about to embark on i.e if you are willing to assist us in claiming my funds from that bank. There must be utmost confidentiality as we cannot afford to reveal our location to anyone else. Note that this transaction needs your total dedication and in return, we are willing to offer you 10% of the total sum which amounts to $31.25 million dollars. If you know that you are willing, dedicated and capable of handling this transaction we would need an urgent response from you with the details below.
Name, occupation, sex ,address and location, mobile phone number, a valid identity card, social security number(if any). There has to be a very high level of trust here as we cannot afford to compromise the success of this transaction.
Note that you can only contact me via email, i will always contact you via phone if and when it is necessary ,for security reasons. As soon as i confirm your reliability,dedication and trust, i will reveal the bank where the money is deposited , give you more insight and instruction on how to go about retrieving my money, especially on the low. You are adviced to be very careful and confidential as this transaction involves some level of risk especially when it comes to our whereabout at the moment. You are to contact me via my daughter's private email by clicking reply.
I await your response.