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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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: Dr Abiola Richards <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2016 16:34:02 +0100
Subject: IMF PAYMENT NEWS!!!
My name is Mr Bobby Richards from the (IMF) A power of attorney was forwarded to our office this morning by one gentle man,he is an American citizen and HIS Name is (ARTHUR C BYROM) This man claimed to be your representative and this power of attorney stated that you are dead, he brought an account to replace your information in other to claim your fund of ($500,000 Million) Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars which is now lying in a dormant account UNCLAIMED, Please try to get back to me with your DETAILS before the end of today
To avoid any more delay in this if you know that you have not head of this person before or you are not the one that send him i will advise you to get back to me ASAP.
Also for us to be sure that you are the one we are dealing with i will advise you provide and reconfirm your details to me once i get those details i will let you know what next to do.
1) Full Name:
2) House Address:
3) Direct Phone Number:
Herenby advise to treat this email as urgent.
I await your email.
Mr Bobby Richards.