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:
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Ruby Bob Johns." (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 11:54:15 +0100
Subject: Depositing of (20,000,000.00 GBP)?
From: Mrs. Ruby Bob Johns
Address: 8 Dancastle Court, 18 Arcadia Avenue, London.
Please kindly accept my apology for sending you this email without your consent. I believe you are a highly respected personality, considering the fact that I sourced your profile from the peoples search data base on the web during my discrete search for a partner whom can assist me in taking bringing the dreams of my late husband come through I am Mrs. Ruby Bob Johns, suffering from cancerous ailment. I was married to Sir Mrs. Bob Johns an English shipping tycoon notable for his great charitable activities before his death in April 2nd, 2006..When my lat husband was alive he deposited the sum of Twenty Million Pounds Sterling (20,000,000.00 GBP) which were derived from his vast estates and investment in capital market with his bank here in UK and named me as the beneficiary of this trust fund. (All records are kept with my family lawyer).
Presently, this money is still with the Bank. My Doctor told me recently, that I have limited days to live due to the cancerous problems that I have been suffering from. Though what bothers me most is the stroke that I have in addition with the cancer. With this hard reality that has befallen me, I have decided to donate this fund to you and i want you to use this gift which comes from my Late husbands effort to establish a charity home for
the upkeep of widows, widowers, orphans, destitute, the down-trodden, physically challenged children, barren-women and persons who prove to be genuinely handicapped financially. I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are bourgeois and very wealthy persons and I do not want my husband hard earned money to be misused or invested into ill perceived ventures, which is the reason i took this bold decision. I do not need any telephone communication in this regard due to my deteriorating health and because of the presence of my husband relatives around me. You can contact me through my personal email address:
Please assure me that you will act just as I have stated Herein. Hope to hear from you soon.
Mrs. Ruby Bob Johns.