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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "keep this confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Christy Walton" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2018 02:32:11 +0300
Subject: ** Dear Beloved,
Greetings to you! I am Mrs. Christy Walton a citizen of the United States of America. I bring to you a proposal worth the sum $14,900,000.00 (Million USD) which I intend to use for a humanitarian project. In June 2005, I inherited the sum of US$18.2 Billion from my late husband Mr. John T. Walton following his death in a plane crash.
I am happy to know you, I have never doubted my instinct as it has never failed me, even as it has directed me to you at this point in time so do not be afraid. I saw your e-mail contact at the department of commerce and foreign trade. I am writing this mail to you with heavy sorrow in my heart, it's painful to let you know that I have been suffering for esophageal cancer and a rare heart disease for the past 6 years and just a few weeks ago my Doctor told me that I won't survive the illness. I am contacting you because I don't have any other option but to open up to you about my project at hand.
The intention of this email is to employ the expertise of a Charity-minded individual, who can identify a viable and guarantee reasonable distribution of my wealth to the needy. I cannot rely on family and closest relatives anymore as they did not show responsible behavior when I entrusted part of my wealth to them to distribute to charitable organizations but instead they used the money for their personal needs.
To prevent any more mishaps, my attorney will act as a check, monitoring every aspect of the Charity. My will is with my Lawyer which my family is fully aware of, but there is ($14,900,000.00 USD) of my Bank Worth which nobody is aware of except my attorney.
Please get back to me on this email "firstname.lastname@example.org" for further details. Please endeavor to keep this confidential. I await your response.
Mrs. Christy Walton