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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "00,000.00" (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.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: International Monetary Fund <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2022 22:22:28 -0700
Subject: I.M.F 0852
( I.M.F ) Head Office
#1900 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20431
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND.
Did You Instruct One Ms. Donna K. Berliner, To Claim Your
US$10,700.000.00. The above-mentioned person visited this Office 10:45
yesterday, with a power of attorney given in her favor by your good
self, granting her the benefit to process and claim your pending fund
valued US$10,700,000.00 (Ten Million, Seven Hundred Thousand United
States Dollars) for personal reasons.
She further stated that you are one of the Corona virus diseases
(COVID-19) victims as you did not survive but you grant her a power of
attorney to claim your pending funds before you pass away. Please
answer this very important question, are you (Dead OR Alive).
Our office has asked Ms. Donna K. Berliner, to return back to this
office within (48) working hours to enable us to have a personal
confirmation from you being hitherto the beneficiary.
(1.) Did you instruct one Ms. Donna K. Berliner, of 1200 Fitch Way,
Sacramento, Ca 95864, to claim and receive the payment on your behalf
because you are dead? (2.) Did you sign any 'Deed of Assignment' in
her favor thereby making her current beneficiary/Next of Kin to
receive your pending fund?
We are sorry to have delayed your instruction in giving out this fund
to the new beneficiary Ms. Donna K. Berliner, since you are one of the
Corona virus diseases (COVID-19) Victim but we must adhere to the
procedures of this honorable Organization by making sure this request
is verified and confirmed by the beneficiary and the existing attorney
Your urgent confirmation is required if you are (Dead OR Alive) You
can also reply me on this
Ms. Kristina Georgieva
Managing Director of the International
Monetary Fund. (I.M.F 0852)