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)
- "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)
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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. KATRINA JONES" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 2009 00:17:55 +0000
Subject: Yours in Christ
I know this letter will definitely come as a surprise to you but I hope as you read on, you will come to understand I have decided- after about four and a half month of thinking about the whole issue- to seek your help in carrying out my last wishes. I don?t really know you but I have prayed, thought about it and moreover I have no choice now and for another reason I prefer not to disclose. My names are Mrs. KATRINA JONES.
I am 67 years old and I was born and brought up from a motherless baby?s home the Netherlands. I was married to my late husband for twenty years and had two children but as God would have it. They died in an auto accident six years ago.
Before this happened, my business and concern for making money was all I lived for. I never really cared about other values in life. But since the loss of my family, I have found a new desire to assist helpless families. I have been helping orphans in orphanages/motherless baby?s homes, especially in Africa. I have also donated some funds for humanitarian aid and rehabilitation of prostitutes in Rio de janiero, Brazil, when I was healthier. I know by now you might be wondering why this entire long story. I am a new Christian convert, suffering from long time cancer of the breast, all indication from my doctor that my conditions are really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that i wouldn?t live more than three months. According to my doctors, and in all indication regards to medical analysis, this is because the cancer disease has gotten to a very bad stage that there is no hope for me to be a living person again.
I have also lost my ability to talk, due to this my poor health
condition. Presently I been hospitalized and my only means of communication at the moment is by my email or sms message and I am here with my laptop.
I am not afraid of death any longer though. Like I told you earlier, my husbands business and mine really thrived when I was healthy and He been alive. We really worked hard for the sake of our children. As my health detracted, my extended family members swooped down on everything my husband and I worked hard to earn.
Seeing that there are no offspring(s) to inherit it coupled with the fact that I am dying. They never really liked me anyway but my husband stood by me all those years. This is my plea; I made most of my money through exporting vintage wines to African countries like South Africa, Benin Republic and Nigeria.
I had to sell all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of $7.5Million dollars with a security company. Presently, this money is still kept with the security company and the managements just wrote me to come forward to pick up my deposit, that it has over stayed the period of time I entered that I would come over to claim it back. Or issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I cannot come over because my illness or they get it confiscated.
It is my last wish to see that this money is invested to any organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the motherless baby?s home where i come from. I want you as a God fearing person, to also use this money to fund churches, orphanages and widows; I took this decision, before i rest in peace because my time will soon be up.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Security Company.
Waiting for your reply.
Yours in Christ,
Mrs. KATRINA JONES
N:B Pls reply me through my alternative email address: