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:
- "can i trust you?" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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: "paulina O. Umokuhezi" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2016 09:56:26 -0600
Subject: From Hospital / Very Urgent.
My Name is Paulina O. Umokuhezi I am a very sick person and booked to undergo surgery in France.
I want you to help me claim the sum of $2.6 I inherited from my late husband; I cannot have access to it, because the fund in question is in a fixed deposit account, and meant to remain in the bank for a period of 10 years before I will have access to it.
Because of my illness, I need somebody to claim it from the bank because I will not live to witness the 10 years, all I need is to present you to the bank as the new beneficiary and the agreement will no longer be valid, meaning the bank will release the fund at your request without waiting for the 10 years to elapse.
This is reason why I contacted you, let me know if you can be able to do it and I will provide a legal power of attorney and affidavit change of ownership, for you to claim the fund from the bank.
I am ready to give you $600,000 from the fund, so that I can travel to France to save my life, I am dying and I have spent all the cash I have with me, even sold my gold jewelry, so right now I am stranded.
All I need is your trust and promise that you will send back to me the sum of $2 Million when the fund gets to your account, can I trust you?
I am waiting to hear from you.
Mrs. Paulina O. Umokuhezi