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:
- "i got your address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Josh kelly" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2003 02:24:01 -0700
Subject: Greetings to you blessed one !
Greetings to you blessed one!. As you read through my message, I do not want you to feel pity or sorry for me, for I believe someday, somehow,
we will all surely die, this is about mine, and a last wish.
My name is Mrs josh Kelly a Citizen of the Nigeria, I am
a 53years old woman, I am diagnosed of Cancer of the Larynx and it is
terminal,medical science can not do anything for me at this stage. I believe in miracles because I believe in GOD, however I prefer to pass on at this stage since I am bed ridden and in constant pain. Before this happened my business and concern for making money was all I lived for, I never really cared about other values in life. But since
my present situation, I have found a new desire to assist helpless
families.I have been helping orphans in orphanage/motherless homes.
I have once donated some money to orphans in war ravaged Eritrea,
Somalia,Sudan and some East European Countries.Having known my condition I decided to entrust my last funds I have deposited in Europe( US 12.6MILLION) to either a philanthropic or devoted individual that will use his judgment
to distribute the money to charity organizations and feel free to
reimburse yourself when you have the money, for any cost you incur
during the process of collecting and distributing the money to charity
organizations. I have left the hospital and presently at home, I have
since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have
only few months to live.
It is my last wish to see this money distributed to charity
organizations,because I don't have any child and my relatives and friends has plundered
so much of my wealth since my illness, I cannot live with the agony of
entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them. Please, I beg you
in the name of God to help me collect the deposit and distribute it
amongst charity organizations.Since my health is retrogressing by the minute, you will have to send your; POSTAL ADDRESS, CONTACT PHONE NUMBER AND FAX and a little details
about yourself, because I got your address from the Internet after a
With the information, I will make arrangement to prepare the
authorization through an Attorney for you to get possession of the
I will give you the name and contact of the Deposit company where the
money is lodged in Europe thereafter, so you can claim the funds. Until
I hear from you, I pray that this letter bring you and your family good
tidings. Please reply as soon possible
Looking forward to hearing from you soonest.
Mrs Josh Kelly