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 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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Lady Amanda Williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 14:22:53 +0800
Subject: Please Assure Me That You Will
Lady Amanda Williams.
49 Neptune Walk,Erith
Here writes Lady Amanda Williams, suffering from cancerous ailment. I was
married to Sir Richard Anderson an Englishman who is dead. My husband was
into private practice all his life before his death. Our life together as man
and wife lasted for three decades without child, My husband and I made a vow
to uplift the down-trodden and the less-privileged individuals as he had
passion for persons who can not help themselves due to physical disability or
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of £20 Million pounds
whichwere derived from his vast estates and investment in capital market with
his bank here in UK.Presently, this money is still with the bank.Recently, my
doctor told me that I have limited days to live due to the cancerous problems
I am suffering from and the stroke in addition.With this that has befallen my
family and me.
I have decided to donate this fund to you and want you to use this gift to
fund the upkeep of uplift the down-trodden and the less-privilege sine i have
no child and my husband relatives are bourgeois and very wealthy persons and
I do not want my husband's hard earned money to be misused.I shall give you
the contact of the bank in UK and a Letter of Authority that will empower you
as the original beneficiary. You can contact me through my personal
Lady Amanda Williams