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:
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mary Willfird" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 8 Jun 2014 03:35:14 -0000
Subject: De. Mme Mary SQB
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I came across
your email contact from my personal search and I believe that you will be
honest to fulfill my final wish before I will die.
My name is Mrs. Mary Willfred I am a dying woman who has decided to donate
what I have to you and the charity organization around your community. I
am 62 years old and I was diagnosed for cancer for about 2years ago
immediately after the death of my husband who has left me everything he
worked for and because the doctors told me I will not live longer than
some weeks because of my health I decided to ILL/donate the sum of $16.5m
to you since I don't have a child.
You should contact me immediately with your Complete contact informations
so that I will put you in contact with the establishment to enable you
arrange with them on how to get the money for the purpose mentioned above,
I can't predict what will be my fate by the time you will receive the
fund, But you should please ensure that the fund is used as l have
described above. Please reply back