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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "Melissa Norman" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2020 09:09:21 -0800
Subject: DONATION OF US$ 5.5 Million IN MY NAME.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am a wife of late Mr. Alexander Norman who worked as a drilling operator at the Oil Company in different aptitudes furthermore, he died in 2016 as a result of complications that led to heart failure, we were married for twenty-nine years without a child.
At present, I am in a hospital undergoing treatment of Esophageal cancer and the doctors informed me that I might not live long due to the stage of cancer. I have cash assets of US$5,500,000 with the bank account that I inherited from my late husband, and so I am writing to seek your permission to put forward your name as my trustee who will receive the money from the bank on behalf of me and extend it to the less privileged in the charity home, I will permit you take 30% from the money as a reward for the effort rendered to accomplish the love for caring to the less privileged.
I have taken this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit the money and I don't want my inheritance to be seized by the bank as an unclaimed fund. As soon as I receive your reply showing your interest, I will send more detailed information of the fund deposit to you such as the certificate of deposit and power of attorney which will establish the truth or correctness of the legal obligation to contact the bank and claim the money. I will send an instruction to the bank in addition to effect release of the fund to you.