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 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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Debbie Freeman" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2010 11:48:54 -0800
Subject: CAN I TRUST YOU ?
Dear beloved one in christ,
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I came across your email contact from my personal search and I instructed the doctor here in these hospital to help me email you and I believe that you will be honest to fulfill my final wish before I will die.
I am Mrs Debbie Freeman from Utah United State of america Utah, I am 69 years old, I am deaf and dont hear and suffering from a long time cancer of the breast.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 babys home, and was married to my late husband Johnson Freeman for twenty years without a child.
My husband and I are true Christian's,we lived all day in London,Uk, since he was working here as a contractor, but quite unfortunately,he died in a fatal motor accident.Since his death I decided not to re-marry and because of my bad stage of health,I sold all my inherited belongings to me and my late husband and deposited all the total sum of $25.8million dollars with the Barclays Bank London.
Presently, this money is still in the BANK, and the managementof the Barclays Bank London,Uk just write me as the Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive the money after keeping it for so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over as a result of my illness, or they get it confiscated.Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment.I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live.
It is my last wish to see that these my hard earn money is invested in any organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charities organization, the poor and the motherless baby's home where I come from.I want your good humanitarian,to also use these money to fund churches, orphanages andwidows around yourenvironmnets.
I must let you know that these was a very hard decision, but I had to take a bold step towards these 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 Bank in London,Uk. I will also issue a letter of authority the bank, which will prove that you are the new beneficiary of my funds.Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.Hope to hear from you soonest.
I await your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours sincerly sister in Christ,
Mrs Debbie Freeman.