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:
- "dear beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Simpson Morris" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 15:43:26 -0500 (PET)
Subject: REPLY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
This letter may come to you as a surprise due to the fact that we have not
yet met. Firstly, I have to say that I have no intentions of causing you
any pain. My name is Mr.Simpson Morris, a European merchant. I have been
diagnosed with Prostate and Esophageal cancer that was discovered very
late due to lack of caring for my health. It has defiled all form of
medicine and right now, I have only about a few months to live according
to medical experts. I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I
never really cared for anyone not even myself but my business.Though I am
very rich, I was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only
focus on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now I
regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting
to have or make all the money in the world. I use to say to my self that
if God should give me a second chance I would live differently from how I
have lived. I was meditating on my hospital bed and something told me that
God is giving me a second chance by keeping me alive though doctors said I
won’t last long.
I know my time is near, that’s why I have willed and given most of
my properties and assets to my immediate and extended family members as
well as some few close friends.So far, I have been able to give alms to a
few charity organizations in the U.A.E, London, Sudan, Zimbabwe I gave
donations to the Global Fund for Children, GCF and I met two people over
the internet that have successfully distributed my funds to charity
organizations in their country. Now my health is deteriorating so badly, I
really need you to help me distribute the last of my fortune. I want this
to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth. You might be wondering why
I did not pick my close relatives for this task, but I once asked members
of my family to close one of my accounts and donate the money there to a
charity organization in Bulgaria. They closed the account but refused to
donate the money to the organization, but instead shared the money amongst
themselves. From the way they are acting around me, something tells me
they want me dead so they can split my last remaining assets and money.
Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be content with
what I have left for them.The last of my money which is a huge cash
deposit that I have with a security firm will be put in your care if only
you will agree and are capable of seeing this through. I want you to help
me collect this deposit and dispatched it to charity organizations of your
choice and let them know that it is I Simpson Morris that is making this
generous donation. I am writing this from my laptop computer in my
hospital bed where I wait for my time to come. I pray for you to support
and assist me with a good heart. I hope we can build a relationship based
on trust because I want to do this by all means possible before I die.But
the choice is yours Please you can contact me through this email
Be blessed my beloved,
Mr. Simpson Morris.