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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "i got your email address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Lynda Gates" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2011 13:08:11 -0500
Subject: GREETINGS FROM BENIN
My Dear Friend,
Let me first of all inform you, I got your email address from a mail Directory
and decided to mail you for a permission to go ahead. I am Mrs. Lynda Gates
from Republic of Benin, married to Dr. Harry R. Gates who worked with Texaco
Oil Company in Malaysia before he died in a ghastly motor accident on his way
to a Board meeting. My Husband and me were married but without any children.
Since his death I decided not to re-marry and presently I am 69 Years old.
When my late husband was Alive he deposited the sum of $16.5M(Sixteen Million
Five Hundred Thousand U.S. Dollars) with a Bank.
Presently this money is still with the Bank and the management just Wrote me
as the beneficiary to come forward to receive the money or rather Issue a
letter of authority to somebody to receive it on my behalf. I am presently in
a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment Cancer of the lungs. I have
since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a
few months to live so I think the best thing to do is to use the money for
charity purposes. I want a person who is trustworthy that I will make the
beneficiary of my late Husband's Fund deposited with the bank so that the
person can get the money and utilize 70% of this money to fund churches,
mosques, orphanages and widows around the world.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact details of the
Bank. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you as the
new beneficiary of this fund. Please assure me that you will act accordingly
as I stated here in and Keep this contact confidential till such a time this
funds get to your Custody. This is to ensure that nothing jeopardizes my last
wish on Earth.
I await your urgent reply.
Mrs. Lynda Gates.