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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Mary Louis" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2010 20:10:02 +0100
Subject: Can i trust you?
Here writes Mrs Mary Louis suffering from cancerous ailment.I was married
to michael Louis law an English man who work with the Shell Petroleum
Development Company in UK who is now dead. My husband was also into private
practice all his life before his death, Our life together as man and wife
lasted for Seventeen years without child. My husband died after a protracted
illness. 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 financial predicament.
I can adduce this to the fact that he needed a Child from the relationship,
which never came. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of
(EIGHTEEN MILLION THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND U.S.A DOLLARS) USD$18.3M
which were derived from his vast estates and investment in capital market
with his bank in SPAIN.
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. Though what bothers me most is the Paralysis of both legs that I have
in addition to the cancer. With this hard reality that has befallen my
family, and me.
I have decided to donate this fund to you and want you to use this gift which
comes from my husbands effort to fund the upkeep of widows,widowers,
orphans,destitute, the down-trodden, physically challenged children,
barren-women and persons who prove to be genuinely handicapped financially.
I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this
money and my husband relatives are bourgeois and very wealthy persons and I
do not want my husband hard earned money to be misused or invested into ill
perceived ventures. I do not want this money to be misused hence the reason
for taking this bold decision. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I
am going. I do not need any telephone communication in this regard due to my
deteriorating health and because of the presence of my husband
I do not want them to know about this development.
As soon as I receive your reply I will also issue you a Letter of Authority
that will empower you as the original beneficiary of this fund,I shall also
give you the contact of the bank in SPAIN . My happiness is that I lived a
worthy of emulation.Due to the dubious means my late husband's relatives are
trying to set up, you are STRONGLY advised to contact me through my personal
Please assure me that you will act just as I have stated herein.
Hope to hear from you
GOD BLESS YOU
MARY LOUIS MRS