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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Aisha Gadaffi" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2018 17:23:24 +0100
Subject: PERSONALLY TO YOU
Am Aisha Gaddafi daughter of late Colonel Gaddafi the Libyan leader.I am contacting you to assist me in removing the sum of sixty five million USA dollars being deposited with a security company in UAE Dubai.
The funds was deposited with a security company in my name and as a matter of fact, me and my only surviving son manage to escape with the help of a security guard on duty that fateful day, I am presently into hiding in a refugee camp between the border of Chad and Nigeria because I know that the regime of my father has collapse after his death. Please for your kind assistance I will offer you 30% of the total sum, all the legal documentation concerning the deposit are with me, I will issue power of attorney making you the new beneficiary of the deposit so that the security company can release the FUNDS to you.
Once you successfully secure the FUNDS from the security company an arrangement would be made for disbursement.
May Allah grant you the heart to assist me and my only son in this our trial period, please never you abandon me with my son just because we are Arabs, but I want to assure you that honesty and trust must remain our bond.
Get back with your details so that we can proceed without delay because l am here without help from no one.
Please contact me on my private mail box firstname.lastname@example.org