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:
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Justina Cosby" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2010 06:21:37 -0400 (CLT)
Subject: Kindly Help Me Complete My Last Wish!
My name is Mrs. Justina Cosby, I am married to (Eng Mr. Larry Cosby) from
United Kingdom (U.K) who was one of the directors and also a contractor in
Shell here in Nigeria, where he worked as the chief Managing director
Engineering project/contract awarding section.My husband died as a result
of heart attack, while he was coming back from (ASIA) new location area on
project inspection on Saturday 10th December 2006. Prior to his death we
had a joint account worth $5.4M in a fixed deposit account.
My dear I was brought up as an orphan and was married to my late husband
for twenty years without a child and am of age, I am 55 years now and am
suffering from long time cancer of the lungs, which has partially affected
my brain, and from all indication my condition is really
deteriorating.According to my doctors, my health is very poor because of
the cancer ailment, I can not stay to live up two months at most.
Therefore I need a God fearing person who will assure me that he/she will
use this fund to help the Motherless babies, Orphanage, Charity
organization and the less privileged.
I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this
money. You can contact my lawyer in person of Barrister Gibson Olatunde at
firstname.lastname@example.org I have told him about you and he is waiting for you
to contact him. He will give you all the necessary guidelines both legally
and otherwise, on how to get the funds. He is a nice person.
God bless you.
Mrs. Justina Cosby