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 us 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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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 mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. mahmand abubuka" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mr. mahmand abubuka" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:22:18 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)
Â Â INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF).
Head Office Department in Republic Du Benin
Presidential Quarters Rue 1478 Cotonou.
Telephone Number +22968771778)
Email Address:( firstname.lastname@example.org)
A power of attorney was forwarded to our office this morning by one
gentle man and he is a citizen from united state of America and his
name is MR MILLER GRAIG DOUGLAS.
This man claimed to be your representative and this power of attorney
stated that you are dead after brief illness and he brought account to
replace your information in other to claim your fund of $8.5 million
us dollars which is now lying dormant and unclaimed, below is the new
account he have submitted:
Account# / 6503809428.
Address 1076 Peter Johnson Road
New York, USA,
Be further informed that this power of attorney also stated that you
suffered and died of a throat cancer. You are therefore given 24 hrs
to confirm the truth in this information, if you are still alive, you
are to contact us back immediately, because we work 24 hrs just to
ensure that we monitor all the activities going on in regards to the
transfer of beneficiary's inheritance and contract payment.
You are to call this office immediately for clarifications on this
matter as we shall be available 24 hrs to speak with you and give you
the necessary guidelines on how to ensure that your payment is wired
to you immediately and also be inform that any further delay from your
side could be dangerous, as we would not be held responsible for any
wrong payment. Contact us as soon as possible if you are truly alive
as we have his identification and residence he provides for us to
wired the payment to him.
Note: we want you to re-confirm your personal information below to
enable us renew and update your file before we will take next step.
(1) Full Name:
(3) Delivery Address:
(7) Telephone Number:
(8) A Cope of Your Passport:
Mr. mahmand abubuka (Director General)
International Monetary Funds Unit.
Republic Du Benin.