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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: Egobia Ben <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 02:33:08 -0800 (PST)
I am Madam Egobia Benjamin, am married to Engineer Silas Benjamin an Iranian engineer who worked with Iranian oil firm before his death last year. My husband was also into private practice all his life before his death. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $2.8 Million (Two Million Eight Hundred United States dollars) which were derived from His vast estates and investment in capital market with a security company here in Ivory Coast. Presently, this money is still with the bank.
My Doctor told me that I have limited days to live due to the cancerous Problems I am suffering from. I have decided to donate this fund to you And want you to use this gift which comes from my husbandâs effort to Fund the upkeep of widows, widowers, orphans, destitute, the down trodden, physically challenged children, barren-women and persons who prove to be Genuinely handicapped financially.
As soon as I receive your reply, I shall give you further instructions by given you my lawyerâs contact informationâs so that he will also issue you a power of attorney letter that will empower you as the Original beneficiary of this fund. My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation. Please always be prayerful all through your life.
Please assure me that you will act just as I have stated herein.
Hope to hear from you soon and God bless you and members of your family.
Madam Egobia Benjamin.