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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Esther Greg."<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 22:56:30 +0100
Subject: The Will Of God In Your Life!
Dear beloved one,
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I am giving you my trust and wish you will give me back the trust i have given you . I believe that you will be honest to fulfill
my final wish before I will die.
I am Mrs. Esther D. Greg , I am 58 years old, I am suffering from a long time cancer.From all indication my condition is really deteriorating, and my doctors have courageously
advised me that I may not live beyond the next two months, this is because the cancer stage has reached a critical stage. I was brought up in a motherless babies home, and was
married to my late husband for twenty years without a child . My husband and I are true Christians, but quite unfortunately,he was killed during the (ABIDJAN- BOUAKE) Crisis
some years back.
Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all our belongings and deposited all the sum of $1.2million dollars with a security/finance company here in Ivory Coast where I lived
with my late husband all our lives, as it was pakaged and registered as a personal Valuable. Presently, this money is still in their custody, and the management just wrote me as
the Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive the Deposit after keeping it for so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I
cannot come over as a result of my illness. Presently,I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment. I have since lost my ability to walk about or do
anything by myself and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live.
It is my last wish to see that this money is invested in any business of your choice and the gain made every year or 6 months as the case may be, distributed each year among the
charity organization,the poor and the motherless babies home where I come from. I want your good humanitarian, to also use this money to fund churches, orphanage homes and
widows around while 20% is for you , I must let you know that this was a very hard decision, but I had to take a bold step towards this issue because I have no further option. I hope
you will help see my last wishes come true.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the security/finance company and our family lawyer who will work with you to get the money out from the
Security/finance company. 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. I will be happy if you can come down to Ivory Coast if possible.
NB: I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplished, as I don't want anything that will Jeopardize my last wish.
Hope to hear from you soonest.
Mrs. Esther D. Greg.