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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Sister Mary Jones" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 2009 11:58:26 +0100
Subject: A CALL TO SERVE!!! ( PLEASE DON'T IGNORE THIS )
Mary Jones ( Muslim name: Fatima Usman
A CALL TO SERVE!!! ( PLEASE DON'T IGNORE THIS )
From: Mrs. Mary Jones
Compliments of the day to you! By this e-mail, I do
sincerely apologize for my intrusion of your privacy.
However, I have a serious concern with which I believe you might be of help and for this reason, I cannot but reach out to someone - a fellow Brethren. My name as given above is Mary Jones, formerly of the Islamic faith and known as Fatima Usman, Malaysian and married to Saudi Arabian Diplomat Mubarat Harry Jones ( Usman). I and my husband have been married for 35 years and has lived and worked around the world as
diplomats and worthy ambassadors of both nationalities, until his death to a ghastly auto crash in 2006, shortly after his conversion from Muslim to
Christianity. We've been dedicated Christians and decided to serve mankind to the best of our ability.
Since his death, I have lived with the memories, fighting effortlessly to lead a normal life but all to no avail. I suffered mentally and psychologically and shortly was diagnosed of Cancer. I lived with the scourge praying earnestly for divine intervention. Just a month ago, the doctor informed me that I have just about three months more to live. I was not shocked. I accepted the news in good fate. Brethren, it is in this regard that I write to you. Before my husband died, he deposited a sum of $5.5 Million (Five Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) with a Finance/Security company. I have wholeheartedly
decided to donate the entirety of this fund to any sincere person for these purposes:
1: To set up a cancer centre to assist victims of it
2: For the sick, less-privileged and destitute
3: For the Widows and orphans
These are the wishes of a dying woman. They are the desires of my heart, hence my decision as I do not have a child to take over my inheritance.
My family, relatives and late husband's people are Muslim infidels who all come around me as I sojourn in my hospital bed and are unaware of my plight, hence I will not be able to make an open conversation. When I receive your response, I will direct you at once to
the Finance/Security Company. I will also empower you with a letter of authority as the new beneficiary to this fund with all necessary documentation.
All I need from you is Truthfulness, Honesty and Sincerity assuring me that you can in all honesty and obedience utilize the funds for the purpose with which it is meant. In any a case, a quick response from you will be highly appreciated as I am already on a count-down and may not have ample time to finalize the procedures. Any delay in response may compel me to source for other measures or perhaps choose the alternative which I will not be happy to.
Please, do not see this as a strange possibility or an
unbelievable opportunity to make wealth, rather see this as a rare chance to assist the less privileged
I await your immediate response.
Sister Mary Jones