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:
- "dear beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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.Lana Armstrong" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2012 08:14:56 -0700
Subject: In Good Faith(Please Read)
I am Mrs.Lana Armstrong from leeds united kingdom,I am suffering from a rare cancerous ailment.I was married to Mr.Robert Armstrong,he worked with Chevron/Texaco in the UK for twelve years before he died in 2005. My late husband deposited the sum of £ 17.5 Million (Seventeen Million Five Hundred Thousand Pounds) with a Bank in United Kingdom.Recently,my Doctor's have told me that I have limited time to live due to the stroke and cancerous problems I am suffering from.I have decided to donate this fund to you and want you to use my husbands efforts to fund the upkeep of widows and charities worldwide.I know this seems very odd and unbelievable to you.I took this decision because at this point in my life i have very little to live for,I also do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband's relatives are bourgeois and very wealthy persons and I do not want my husband hard earned money to be misused.I earnestly awaiting your sincere reply via my email address:firstname.lastname@example.org
With God all things are possible.