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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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)
- "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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: "Mark Smith (Head Auditor)" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2023 14:37:51 +0100
FROM THE DESK OF MARK SMITH
DEBT MANAGEMENT OFFICE
Our Ref: UN/CPO/WB/845/2022
ATTENTION : Beneficiary
YOUR CONTRACT INHERITANCE FUND DIVERTING USD$15.2 MILLION DOLLARS
A power of attorney was forwarded to our office this morning by one
gentle man. He is a citizen of the United State of America and his
name is MR MILLER GRAIG DOUGLAS.
This man claimed to be your representative and this power of attorney
stated that you are dead after a brief illness and he brought an
account domiciled with Citibank in the USA to claim this approved
$12.2 Million US Dollars which is now lying dormant and unclaimed,
is the account he submitted:
City Bank, NA
60 Wall Street New York, NY 10052
Account name: Miller Graig Douglas
Be further informed that this power of attorney also stated that you
suffered and died of throat cancer. You are therefore given 24 hrs to
confirm the truth in this information, if you are still alive, you are
to contact us back immediately, because we have 48 hrs just to ensure
that we monitor all the activities going on in regards to the transfer
of beneficiary's inheritance and contract payment.
You are to call this office immediately for clarifications on this
matter as we shall be available 48 hrs to speak with you and give you
the necessary guidelines on how to ensure that your payment is wired
to you immediately and also be inform that any further delay from your
side could be dangerous, as we would not be held responsible for any
wrong payment. Contact us as soon as possible if you are truly alive
as we have his identification and residence he provides for us to wire
the payment to him.
Note: we want you to re-confirm your personal information below to
enable us to renew and update your file before we will take the next
step and make sure that you receive your funds this week without
(1) Full Name: ...............................
(2) Country/State: ..................................
(3) Delivery Address: ...........................
(6) Age: ........................................
(7) Telephone Number: ...........................
(8) A Copy of your Int'l Passport or Drivers license:
We look forward to your cooperation as soon as you receive this message.
Yours in Service,
Mark Smith (Head Auditor)
Rhounda Murray (secretary)