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:
- "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)
- 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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Mahmand Abubaka" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 10 May 2016 11:03:28 -0400
Subject: INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF).
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF).
Head Office Department in Republic Du Benin
Presidential Quarters Rue 1478 Cotonou.
Telephone Number +229 6842 8015
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.............
(2) Country/State/ City Name.............
(3) Delivery Address.........
(7) Telephone Number...........
(8) A Cope of Your Passport/ Drivers Licenses........................
Mr.mahmand Abubaka (Director General)
International Monetary Funds Unit.
Republic Du Benin.
Telephone Number +229 6842 8015