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 "dying widow" scam.
- 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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs, Maryam Abdul-Nasser" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mrs, Maryam Abdul-Nasser" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 13:32:45 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Hello beloved,
Â Hello beloved,
I am Mrs. Maryam Abdul-Nasser, a widow from Kuwait. I was married to Late Dr. Hassan Abdul-Nasser who was an an oil merchant before he died in the year 2008. We were married for eighteen years without a child. Before he died, we deposited the sum of $7.6m (Seven Million six hundred thousand U.S. Dollars) in a Bank and this money is still with the Bank till today.
In 2012, i started suffering cancer, fibroid problems and hearing impairments. Recently, my Doctor told me that I will die in the next three months because of the complications with the cancer problem. Therefore I decided to donate this money to a reliable individual who will use this $7.6M US Dollars to build orphanage and help the poor. So i decided to email you and seek for your consent so that i will bequeath the $7.6M US Dollars to you for this project.
I want you to use this money in all sincerity to fund a memorial foundation in my late husband's name that will benefit the orphanage, widows and the destitute. I hope you will not disappoint me in using this money to help the poor in your country.
I am taking this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband's relatives has been very hostile and unkind to me since after my husband's death. I do not have any trace to any of my family relatives because my parents eloped to United Kingdom due to war and never mentioned home till they all died. If i do not will this money to anyone, the Bank will take it. So i want to bequeath it to you so that you can use it to help the poor in your country.
If you are willing to accept this money from me, please get back to me via(firstname.lastname@example.org)
I shall give you the contacts of the bank. For legitimacy, I will also give you a letter of authority (Power of attorney) that will establish you as my appointed beneficiary to this money. If you delay in replying this mail, i will look for another individual that will accept to use this money to help the poor.
I am waiting for your reply.
Mrs, Maryam Abdul-Nasser,