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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Vivian Cole" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2010 18:17:17 +0100 (CET)
Subject: Calvary Greetings.
Hello Dear Friend,
My name is Mrs. Vivian Cole, an American married to British. I am a dying
woman who has decided to donate what I have to Orphanage homes and
churches. I Was diagnosed for cancer about 4 years ago, Immediately after
the death of my husband, who Has Left me everything he worked for in the
United Kingdom which he deposited with a bank in England in My names, I
have been touched by God to donate for the good work of God, rather than
allow my husband Relatives use my husband hard earned funds for ungodly
activities for we had no child and he was so partionate about helping the
Less privileged. Please pray that the good Lord forgive me my sins.
I have asked God to forgive me and believe he has because He is a
merciful God. I will be going in for the operation in some days from now,
I decided to Will/donate the sum of $15.000,000.00 fifteen million United
States Dollars for the work of the lord and also to help the motherless
and less Privilege and also for the assistance of the Widows.
At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls due to the fact that my
Throat is bad. I have adjusted my WILL and my lawyer is aware I have
changed my will. You will arrange the transfer of the Funds from my
account to your personal account in your Country. May the good Lord bless
you abundantly, and please Use this fund well and extend the good work to
others. Contact my Lawyer with these specified details: He is a British
Livingstone Advocates And Solicitors.
Barrister Leonard Mckean.
And tell him that I have informed you to assist me is completing my plans
for the less privileged of our society today. Use 70% for the help of the
needy and take 30% for yourself. I have been directed to do this when I
went into fasting and prayers for GOD to give me a good hearted person to
do his work. Provide me with below information’s of yourself to know
whom I am having dealings With, I can not talk for due to my illness.
Full Names: passport/ Valid Identity always pray for the success of this
project to be fulfilled. I know there will be obstacle, prayers changes
all. I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until
the task is accomplished as I don't want anything that will jeopardize my
last wish. God be with you, AMEN.
Mrs. Vivian Cole.
My E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NB: Please we can communicate via email, cant talk because of my throat