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:
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "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: "Mr Thomas Smith" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2016 03:16:53 -0400
Subject: ATTENTION: BENEFICIARY ABOUT YOUR ATM CASH CARD
The sum of $4.6 million. out of your over due total sum has been approved for payment through ATM cash card system after all attempts to pay you through bank, and diplomatic courier failed.
The approved sum has been programmed into the ATM cash card which will be dispatched to you through your address upon reconfirmation. I have made several attempts to contact you and this is the 3rd and perhaps the last email to you in respect to this matter. Meanwhile, I received a power of attorney from one MICHAEL BELL from USA purportedly issued by you asking us to change the fund beneficiary to his name hence we are seeking for your confirmation as soon as possible. to this end, you should
Kindly Re-confirm these information to me.
Fill Out the information to him if you are ready to get your FUNDS
YOUR FULL NAME...................
YOUR FULL ADDRESS..............
YOUR CELL PHONE NUMBER...............
MARRIED OR SINGLE.....................
SCAN COPY OF YOUR DRIVER'S LICENCE/NATIONAL PASSPORT.
Mr Thomas Smith