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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million british 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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- 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: "Mrs Emelia Brown" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2009 02:37:19 -0800
Subject: Best Regards
I am Mrs Emilia Brown, I am 68 years old from U.S.A, and I am suffering from a long time cancer of the Lungs which also affected my well being, from all indication my conditions is really deteriorating. According to my doctors they have advised me that I may not live for the next two months, this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage.
I was brought up from a motherless babies home, was married to my late husband for twenty years and we lived in London until my husband died in a fatal motor accident in London. Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the money with a bank in London. Presently, this money is still with the bank and I have not operated the account for long now due to the illness.
Presently, I'm with a laptop in Hospital, where I have been under going treatment for cancer of the lungs for over one year. Recently, doctors told me that I have only a few months to live so I quickly called up a pastor to give me positive thinking on this solution, He ministered to me to share this inheritance with the motherless baby/orphanage homes/people that need money for survivor.
It is my last wish to see that some percentage (%) distributed among the charity organizations, the poor and the motherless babies home where I came from and some percentage (%)for devoted individual that will utilize this money the way I wish.I took this decision, because my time will soon be up and I do not want the bank to inherit the money if I eventually die.
Please kindly accept my decision and send the following information to me to enable me order my bank to process and transfer my £3.5 Million British Pounds Sterling to you as my beneficiary. I will issue a power of authority to my bank which will empower you as the beneficiary of my money, I will issue a power of authority to my bank which will enhance the release of my money to you as my beneficiary immediately i hear from you
Your Full Name..................
Mrs. Emilia Brown
N/B:- please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org