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:
- "million 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: "Elizabeth Charles" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2013 12:34:42 -0000
Subject: Elizabeth Charles
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you; I am giving you my trust And wish you will give me back the trust i have given you. I believe that you will be Honest to fulfill my final wish before I will die.
I am MRS. ELIZABETH CHARLES from Cote d'Ivoire , I am 59 years old, I am suffering from a long time Cancer of the breast. From all indication my condition is really deteriorating, and my Doctors have courageously advised me that I may not live beyond next month, this is Because the cancer stage has reached a critical stage. I was brought up in a Motherless baby as home, and was married to my late husband for twenty years we have only one child his name is Williams. My husband and I are true Christians, but quite unfortunately, he Died on the presidential election in our country.
Before his death we were both born again Christians. I decided not to re-marry, I sold all we have both my husband Company and Deposited it in one of the bank here the sum of $ 5.2million dollars here in Cote d'Ivoire Presently, this money is still with the bank i want you to use this money to take care of my only son and also invested the money into a very good LUCRATIVE VENTURE of your choice that will be giving out proceeds to be distributed each year Among the charity organization, the poor and the motherless baby âs, orphanage Homes and widows around . I must let you know that this was a very hard decision, But I had to take a bold step towards this issue because I have no further option.
I hope you will help see my last wishes come true.
Please kindly write me back for more detail.
Yours in Christ,
Mrs. Elizabeth Charles