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:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Melina Komol <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 16:05:34 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Dearest In Christ.
Dearest In Christ.
I am Mrs.Melina Komol from Comoros Island.I am married to late Mr Graham Komol who worked with Comoros Island Embassy here in Abidjan Ivory Coast for Twenty-Six years before he died in the year 2009 after a brief illness that lasted for only five days. We were married for Eighteen years with a daughter (Lilian)who later died in a car accident on her way back home from school.
Before the untimely death of my husband,we were both born again Christians.Since after his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against.Before the death of my husband he left the sum of U$4,500,000,00(Four Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars)with my name as the next of kin and only legitimate wife.
Recently,Following my ill health, my doctor told me that I may not last for the next eight months due to my cancer problem.The one that disturbs me most is my stroke sickness.Having known my condition,I decided to donate this fund to an individual or organization that will utilize this money for the help of orphanages home,christian schools,widows,the less privilages and churches for propagating the word of God,according to my desire and my late husband before his death.
I want this fund to be used in activities as I have stated.I took this decission because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are all unbelievers and I don't want my husband's efforts to be used by unbelievers.If you are willing to handle thsi project let me know immediately and I will send you the necessary information that will enable you claim the money
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Yours in Christ,
Sister Mrs.Melina Komol.