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:
- "million dollars" (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 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: john c dugan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2022 03:06:45 -0800
Urgent Attention Dear beneficiary
I want to let you that we receive another email right now from a young
man called Mr. Mark Douglas he said that you got an accident and died
yesterday that before you died in the hospital you gave him the power
of attorney to inherit your fund worth $10:7 million dollars in our
custody and he said that he is ready to pay for the VAT charge duty so
that we can hand over the fund to him, we need a confirmation to this
and if we do not hear from you within a couple of 6 hours we are
going to take the action by handing him over the fund.Remember to send
him your Full information to avoid wrong transfer such as:
Phone Number: ___________
Contact +1 202 539-4467