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:
- "dearest one," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Laetitia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2011 01:53:36 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re Hello
May the greetings of Lord be with you, Please, I am Mrs Laeticia Droubry from Cote D' Ivoire, I got married to my late husband Mr James Droubry from France, we married for 11 years we couldn't produce any child and my late husband was an international business man, may his soul rest in peace.
Before his death two years ago I have been suffering from cancer of breast, which I have tried my best to have it cure but no solution after all the treatment which I have been taking, but to my greatest surprise some days ago my doctor told me that I may not live more than 2 months as the result of the sickness. And we deposited the sum of $8.4 million dollars in one of the local bank here in our country for our business, before the death of my husband, now I decide to use this money to help the less privileges like poor widows, orphans, disables and build churches as the result of my short stay on this earth since we couldn't produce any child to inherit the fund and our properties.
I was touched in spirit to donate the money to you, to use it for the good work of God. Please reply soon for better explanation,
I am waiting for your urgent reply.
Mrs Laeticia Droubry.