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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "i got your address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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)
- mrs josephine tiko, lagos nigeria contact email:firstname.lastname@example.org dear friend, i send my warmest regards and greetings to you and (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS JOSEPHINE" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2021 14:36:23 +0100
Subject: Dear Friend,
Mrs JOSEPHINE TIKO,
I send my warmest regards and greetings to you and your family.
I am Mrs JOSEPHINE TIKO. I am married to Late
Dr. PAUL TIKO of the blessed memory who was an oil explorer
in Kuwait and Brunei for fifteen years before he died in the year 2000.
We were married for twelve years without a child. He died after a brief
illness that lasted for only four days. Before his death we were both
devoted to our God and respect others who serve Him.
(My family lawyer contact telephone, Tel: TEL: +234 7050576717). His name is Barrister Anthony William, email@example.com)
Since my husbands death, I too have been battling with both Cancer and fibroid
problems. When my late Husband was alive, he Deposited the sum of
$20million (Twenty Million U.S Dollars) in a Security Company here in
LAGOS NIGERIA. The money is deposited as Family Valuables/Treasures
for security and family reasons. Recently, my doctor told me that I have
less than three months to live due to my cancer problem.
Having known my condition, I decided to entrust this fund to either a
philanthropic organization or devoted individual that will utilize this
money the way I am going to instruct herein. 30% of the US$20million
goes to you to ensure that you are prepared for the task ahead, 60% of the US$20million will be used in all sincerity to fund philanthropic organization, orphanages and widows, while 10% of the will go to the family Attorney who will prepare the Authorization for the claim.
I am taking this decision because I do not have any child or devoted relations
while I am ill and above all I do not want a situation where this money will
be used in an unGodly manner, hence this bold decision. Since my health is
retrogressing by the minute, you will have to send your POSTAL ADDRESS, CONTACT PHONE NUMBER AND FAX, a little details about yourself, because I got your address from the internet after a thorough search. Immediately I receive this information from you I will make arrangements to prepare the Authorization through the family Attorney for you to get Possession of the deposited fund.
As soon as I hear from you, I will ensure that the authorization is given to you
by me. I will give you the name and contact of the Deposit Security Company where the money was deposited here in NIGERIA for the claims of the funds. Until I hear from you, I pray that this letter brings you and your family good tiding while my dreams to help humanity rest squarely on your shoulders. And keep it as a secret.
May the Almighty God continue to guide and protect you and your family.
Mrs JOSEPHINE TIKO.