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 pounds" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Lady Rebecca Thatcher." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2009 04:37:22 +0530
Subject: IN GOOD FAITH.
From: Lady Rebecca Thatcher.
No:36 Old Shrewbarry Street,
I am Lady Rebecca Thatcher, suffering from cancerous ailment. I was
married to Sir Jeremy Thatcher an English shipping tycoon notable for his
great charitable activities before his death in April 2nd, 2007.
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of Twenty Million
Pounds Sterling (20,000,000.00 GBP) which were derived from his vast
estates and investment in capital market with his bank here in UK and
named me as the beneficiary of this trust fund.(All records are kept with
my family lawyer).Presently, this money is still with the Bank.
My Doctor told me recently, that I have limited days to live due to the
cancerous problems that i have been suffering from. Though what bothers me
most is the stroke that I have in addition with the cancer. With this hard
reality that has befallen me, I have decided to donate this fund to you
and i want you to use this gift which comes from my Late husbands effort
to establish a charity home for the upkeep of widows, widowers,
orphans,destitute,thedown-trodden, physically challenged children,
barren-women and persons who prove to be genuinely handicapped
I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit
this money and my husband relatives are bourgeois and very wealthy persons
and I do not want my husband hard earned money to be misused or invested
into ill perceived ventures, which is the reason i took this bold
decision. I do not need any telephone communication in this regard due to
my deteriorating health and because of the presence of my husband
relatives around me. You can contact me through my personal email address:
My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation.Please assure me
that you will act just as I have stated herein.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Lady Rebecca Thatcher.