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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Rose Holtsbery" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 21 Mar 2020 01:36:32 -0700
Subject: Thank you]i
Greetings in the name of God, I prayed and got your email from goggle
generic search engine in view of looking out for a reliable person to
assist me since my only surviving lawyer who should have assisted me
died late last year. I am Mrs. Rose Holtsbery from London, I am 68
years old am suffering from a long time cancer of the lungs which has
affected my brain and my conditions is deteriorating and it is quite
obvious now, according to my doctors they rumored that i may not live
for the next six months reason been that the cancer has gotten to a
very bad stage of which I am now very afraid.
I was brought up from a motherless home before I married my late
husband for twenty years without a child, my husband died in a fatal
motor accident before his death, we were true believers after his
death I decided not to re-marry, I indeed sold all my inherited
belongings and deposited all sum of 21 million BP dollars with a
private finance Bank. The management wrote me to come forward for
claim or rather issue a power of attorney to somebody to receive it on
my behalf since I cannot come over because of my illness or they get
Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I am undergoing
treatment for cancer of the lungs. It is my last wish to see that this
money is invested to any charity organization of your choice for
alleviation of poverty and the motherless. I want you as God fearing
person, to also use this money to fund church, mosque, orphanages and
widows, I took this decision so as to rest in peace after I must have
gone to the lord since time will soon be up according to my doctors.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the
Bank, I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you
as the new beneficiary therefore provide me with your information to
forward to the bank in the course of my response to the bank. Please
assure me that you will act accordingly as I hope to hear from you