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:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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.Ruth Anderson" <Info@anderson.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2011 11:54:23 -0000 (GMT)
Subject: SPECIAL REQUEST
Dear Beloved in Christ,
I am Mrs Ruth Anderson,suffering from cancerous ailment.I was married to
Mr.Robert Anderson,my husband worked with Chevron/Texaco in the United
Kingdom for twenty years before he died in the year 2002. My late husband
deposited the sum of £14.5 Million (fourteen Million Five Hundred
Thousand Pounds sterling) with a
Bank in United Kingdom.Recently,my Doctor told me that I have limited days to
live due to the stroke and cancerous problems I am suffering from.I have
decided to donate this funds to you and want you to use my husbands effort
the upkeep of widows and charities worldwide.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.
Awaiting your urgent reply via my
With God all things are possible.
Your Sister in Christ,