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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "first national bank" (not involved with lotteries)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: "Christopher Wray" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2019 15:57:50 -0700
Subject: Re: Payment Notification!
Office Of The Director,
Christopher A. Wray,
Federal Bureau Of Investigation,
935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW, Washington, D.C. 20535-0001, USA.
The attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been directed by our International Operations Division on your transaction with the First National Bank (FNB) concerning your over-due inheritance / contract payment. It might interest you to learn that we have fully analyzed the transaction as stipulated by our Investigative Operational Guidelines and have confirmed that it is 100% genuine and hitch free, and of which you have the legitimate right to claim.
We recently had our spring meetings with the Governor of the First National Bank, Mr. Ronald J. McPherson and some top officials of the ministry in regard to the subject matter and we were led to understand that your payment file was held in abeyance pending when you personally apply for its claim. But the major challenges facing the Bank are (i). Some unscrupulous elements are using this project as an avenue to scam innocent people off their hard earned money by impersonating the Governor or an official of the First National Bank. (ii). A woman named Mrs. Linda Box, from New York submitted an application to FNB with a power of attorney and some official documents (allegedly signed by you) prior to the release of your Funds (US$1,950,000.00) to her due to your ill health.
In view of all these, we have been urged to warn beneficiaries who have received information pertaining to their outstanding inheritance / contract payment to be very careful, in order not to be a victim of circumstance. In case you are already dealing with someone from the First National Bank/Any Bank or whichever office, you are strictly advised to DESIST from further communication with that individual in your best interest, and thereby contact the real office of the First National Bank via the below information:
Bank Name: First National Bank
NOTE: You should ignore any message that does not come from the above email address for security reasons. And to enable the First National Bank to process and release the fund to you, you are required to re-confirm your full details such as:
Your full Name:
Contact Home Address:
Your Cell Phone Number:
Your Date of Birth:
Ensure that you abide to the First National Bank due process in line with the International Banking Secrecy Act, to avoid any form of discrepancy, which may hinder your funds transfer.
Thanks for your understanding and cooperation as we earnestly await your urgent reply.
Christopher A. Wray,
Federal Bureau of Investigations