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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states 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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Jean Pat" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 13:47:16 -0600
Subject: I Need Your Assistance
Greetings to you, my name is Mrs Jean Pat widow to late Mr.Mark Pat former owner of Petroleum & Gas Company here in Kuwait . I am 68 years old, suffering from long time Cancer of the breast. From all indications my condition is really deteriorating and it's quite obvious that I won't live more than 2 months according to my doctors. This is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage. I don't want you to pity me, but I need your assistance and trust.
My late husband died early last year from Heart attack, and during the period of our Marriage we couldn't produce any child. My late husband was very wealthy and after his death, I inherited all his business and wealth.The doctor has advised me that I will not live for more than 2 months, soI have now decided to spread all my wealth to contribute mainly to the development of charity in Africa, America , Asia, Africa and Europe . Am sorry if you are embarrassed by my mail, I found your e-mail address in the web directory, and I have decided to contact you, but if for any reason you find this mail offensive, please you can ignore it and please accept my apology.
Before my late husband died he deposited the sum of Twenty million United States dollars (USD$20.000.000.00 Million) in a Finance Firm in Europe some years ago, that's all I have left now, I need you to collect this funds and distribute it yourself to charity, so that when I die my soul can rest in peace. The funds will be entirely in your hands and management. I hope God gives you the wisdom to touch many lives. That is my main concerned 20% of this money will be for your time and effort,while 5% will be set aside for any miscellaneous expenses that may be
incurred and the remaining 75% goes to charities that will appreciate your assistance for this projects.
Please reply back to me on this e-mail: The doctor has stopped me from receiving and making calls due to my health condition.
God bless you.
Mrs Jean Pat