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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: Tina Mayer <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2016 12:21:34 -0700
Subject: IN GOOD FAITH
My Name is Tina Mayer,I was married to Late Dr. Edward Mayers who was an oil merchant, We were married for eighteen years with one son but our son pass away after the dead of his father on the airplane crash Before he died, we deposited the sum of (Eight Million three hundred thousand U.S. Dollars) in a Bank and this money is still with the Bank.
In 2012 I started suffering cancer, fibroid problems and hearing impairments. Recently, because this cancer problem. Therefore I decided to donate this money to a reliable individual who will use the Fund to build orphanage home and help the poor.
I am taking this decision because I do not have anybody that will inherit this money and my husband relatives have 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.
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.