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:
- "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: Meredith Black <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2022 03:21:47 +0100
*We wish to inform you that a power of attorney was forwarded to our office
this morning, by two gentlemen regarding your unclaimed fund of*
*$2.5 Million Dollar. One of them is an American citizen named Mr. Robert
Porter and the other is Mr. Wilhelm Berg a Swedish citizen.*
*The document claims these gentlemen to be your authorized representatives,
and the power of attorney states that you are already deceased. It further
states that your death was due to lung cancer, with your date of death
being March 27th, 2020.*
*They have now submitted a new account to replace the receiving account
that was in the original claim of funds. These funds have remained
unclaimed for quite some time and the need for resolution is pressing.*
*Below is the new account they have submitted.*
*Account Name's : Robert Porter /Wilhelm Berg*
*Account: 5007-29 438 66*
*Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken. (SEB :)*
*In the event that you are in fact still alive, we ask that you confirm
your existence by responding to this email. You are to view this as a
matter requiring immediate attention and response. We have 48 hr monitoring
of all activities within the Federal Reserve Bank.*
*We have contacted the bank in Sweden asking them to wait for further
directives from the Federal Reserve Bank, prior to authorizing any
withdrawals in any form. Our request is based entirely on our attempt to
verify that you are in fact deceased, before money is wrongly disbursed.*
*Finally, we forewarn you that if we do not hear back from you shortly, we
will have to assume that you are in fact deceased and the Federal Reserve
bank will proceed with releasing funds to the above newly submitted