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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2011 05:53:47 +0800
Subject: Good day!!!
I am Mrs. Michelle Richard, suffering from
cancerous ailment. I was married to Sir Richard Mkhondo an English
shipping tycoon notable for his great charitable activities before
his death. 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
Our lives together lasted for three decades without a child. My
husband died of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in April 2nd, 2007.
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of twenty-two
million dollar ($22,000,000.00 USD) which were derived from his
vast estates and investment in capital market with his bank here in
MALAYSIA which were derived from his vast estates and investment
in capital market (All records are kept with my family lawyer).
Presently, this money is still with the bank here in MALAYSIA.
My Doctor told me recently, that I have limited days to live due to
the cancerous problems that i am suffering from and what bothers me
most is the stroke that I have in addition with the cancer. With
this hard reality that has befallen me, i have decided to DONATE
this funds to YOU, for charitable work. I want you to use this gift
which comes from my late husbands effort to establish a SMALL charity
home for 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. I do not want my husband hard earned money to be
misused or invested into ill perceived ventures, which is the
reason i took this decision.
Please; My contact details as follow:
Name: Mrs. Michelle Richard
Your response will be appreciate, so that I
can authorize my Attorney to prepare the Necessary
Documents, for YOU, as the beneficiary of the said fund.
NB: the transfer changes has be pay to the bank!!
Please assure me that you will act just as I have stated herein.
Mrs. Michelle Richard