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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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 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 "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Gloria Caldwell." (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2010 02:43:31 -0700
I am Mrs. Gloria Caldwell from London; I am deaf and suffering from a long time cancer of brain. From all indications my condition is really deteriorating, and my doctors have courageously advised me that I may not live beyond the next two months; I was brought up in a motherless baby's home, and was married to my late husband for twenty years without a child, but quite unfortunately, he died in a fatal motor accident.
Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of $3.2million dollars with a bank. Presently, this money is still in their custody, and the management just wrote me as the Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive the money after keeping it for so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over as a result of my illness. I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment.
It is my last wish to see that this money is invested in any organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the motherless baby's home. I must let you know that this was a very hard decision, but I have to take a bold step towards this issue because I have no further option. I hope you will help see my last wishes come through.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank. I will also issue you a letter of authority, which will prove that you are the new beneficiary of my funds. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hope to hear from you soonest.
Mrs. Gloria Caldwell.