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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Zahir Bashir Abdul <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 05:54:41 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Business Proposal (Gaddafi)
I Abdul Zahir Bashir, the managing director of Al Aman Bank, Dat El Imad Complex 9 Tower â Ground Floor,Â Tripoli, LibyaÂ and a financial advisor to Goldman Sachs.
I am contacting you in the hope of reaching a mutual agreement regarding an unknown sum totaling US$44,800,000,00.
The funds belong to the Late Colonel Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi.
He was killed On the 20 October, 2011 by the National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters.
Having failed to relinquish power for a peaceful transition to democracy or surrender to NATO.
The NTC is determined on confiscating all funds traceable to the late ruler.
But the aforementioned sum is 100% safe with the company.
It was secretly deposited and has been moved to another finance companyâs security vault.
I have all the legal documents backing up the funds for claim.
One thing is certain, this project is 100% risk free.
All you need do is open communication with the security firm to claim the funds as a representative of Al Aman Bank.
You will be armed with a power of attorney which will be prepared by a renowned attorney and deposed in a competent court of Jurisdiction.
For added security you reach me on (email@example.com)with details for further instruction s modalities for retrieving the funds.
Abdul Z. Bashir