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:
- "mtcn" (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 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: Donald James <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Donald James <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2015 06:35:57 +0900 (JST)
Subject: DID YOU AUTHORIZED ANYBODY TO CLAIM YOUR $2.5 MILLION
We received an email from this Mr. Michael Victor Damien and his friend Dr
Jerry Lawrence Richard. who said that you was give them the power of
attorney to make claims of your funds that you are not capable to complete
your Â transfer again, so we should transfer your funds to their giving
account and they promise to pay for the balance Â so that we will be
transfer your funds to them.
They said that they have an meting with you in some hours ago and you give
them this office email address that they should contact us and let us know
that you are the one who give your power of attorney to them to make the
claim on your behalf that you are not capable to complete the transfer any
We will like to hear from you before we give them the order to make the
payment of this $68 and we will being divert your funds to them like they
said you give them your power of attorney to make claims of your funds
If you know that you are not the one who gave your power of attorney to
make the claim then go ahead and send this $68 to under below
Receiver Name/ Ekene Ora
Country / Benin Republic
Test Question/ Urgent
Answer / Yes.
Amount To Be Send / $68
Note if we didn't heard from you today to confirm then we shall transfer
your funds to them as they said
Treat as urgent and serious matter.
From Federal Ministries of
Tel:::: +229 67901883