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:
- "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)
- "i got your email address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Susan Amson" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2010 05:18:39 +0800
Subject: Confidential Message
Dear Beloved Friend,
I know you will be surprise to receive my message, I got your email address from a mail Directory. I am Mrs. Susan V. Amson from Netherlands, a foreigner married to (Dr.Roberto Patrick) who worked with a construction company in Asia for twenty Years before he died in the tsunami disasters, we were married but without any children.
Since after my husband death I decided not to re-marry and presently I am 68 years old. When my husband was still alive he deposited the sum of US$1.5 Million Dollars (One Million Five Hundred Thousand United Sates Dollars) with a Security & Finance Vault Company in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
Presently this money is still with the Security & Finance vault Company and the management wrote me as the next beneficiary to my late husband to come forward to collect the money because the date which my late husband agreed with security & finance company for collection has expired and due to my condition of my health since and unable to go and collect the money, I should prepare a letter of authorization to somebody whom I trust to collect the fund on my behalf.
Presently, am hospitalize for months now for CANCER of the lungs, and I have since then lost my ability to talk and the Doctors said I have few month to live.
My husband relatives dont care about my health, they have collected and sold other properties owned by my late husband, they are wicked to me also they dont come to the hospital where am receiving treatment to know if and dead or alive. I will not be happy to let my husband relatives have everything that belongs to my late husband and, this is why am contacting you with my honest and faithful heart to sign the above amount to you, so that you will utilize 60% of this money to the following like churches, orphanages home, handicaps and widows around the world but all should be on my late husband and I name, so that I will be happy in my grave when I join my late husband.
If I receive your reply I I give you all the information on how to collect the money from the Security & Finance Vault Company in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. where the fund is been deposited. I will also issue you a letter of authority declaring you as the next beneficiary and how you will utilize or disburse the fund. Please assure me that you will act accordingly and keep all details confidential and close to heart.
Private E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I expect your prompt reply
Mother Susan Amson