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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "George Wilson" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 7 Oct 2015 16:12:48 +0330
Subject: [***SPAM***] DID YOU SIGN THE POWER OF ATTORNEY!!!
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)
DEPT: WORLD DEBT RECONCILIATION AGENCIES.
ADVISE: YOUR OUTSTANDING PAYMENT NOTIFICATION
A power of attorney was forwarded to our office this morning by two
gentle men, one of them is an American national and he is MR DAVID
DEANE by name while the other person is MR... JACK MORGAN by name a
This gentlemen claimed to be your representative, and this power of
attorney stated that you are dead, they brought an account to replace
your information in other to claim your fund of $12.5 Million Usd
which is now lying DORMANT and UNCLAIMED, below is the new account
they have submitted:
ACCOUNT NO. 2984-0008-66
Be further informed that this power of attorney also stated that you
suffered and died of throat cancer. You are therefore given 24hrs 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 beneficiaries inheritance and contract payment.
You are to reply to this office immediately for clarifications on this
matter as we shall be available 24 hrs to attend to you and give you
the necessary guidelines on how to ensure that your payment is wired
to you immediately.
Just also be informed that any further delay from your side could be
dangerous, as we would not be held responsible of wrong payment.
Mr George Wilson
Finance Department Director
International Monetary Funds Agents