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:
- "million pounds" (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)
- "remain blessed" (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: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 2010 18:38:57 -0800
MY GOOD INTENSION
I thank God for today, as I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone (not even myself) but my business. Having known the truth; I had no choice than to do what is lawful and just in the sight of God for eternal life and in the sight of man for witness of God & His Mercies and glory upon my life.
I am Mrs. Martha Rogers, the wife of Late Mr.Max Rogers, My husband worked with the Chevron/Texaco in Russia for twenty years before he died in the year 2004.We were married for ten years without a child.
My Husband died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home, When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of 7.5 Million Pounds (Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand Pounds) with a Bank in Europe. Presently, this money is still with the Bank and the management just wrote me as the beneficiary that our account has been DORMANT and if I, as the beneficiary of the funds, do not re-activate the account; the funds will be CONFISCATED or I rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf (note that you need to activate this account) as I can not come over. Presently, I'm in a hospital in Russia where I have been undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few weeks to live.
It is my last wish to see this money distributed to charity organizations anywhere in the World in helping human race. Because relatives and friends have plundered so much of my wealth since my illness, I cannot live with the agony of entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them. Please, I beg you in the name of God to help me Stand-in as the beneficiary and collect the Funds from the Bank. I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money, and I am not afraid of death since I know where I am going to. I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my soundless voice and presence of my husband's relatives around me always. I don't want them to know about this development.
I await your quick response to this mail as this is my last wish to see this funds transferred before my Death.
Please my beloved for further communication on how we are going to conclude this, reach me on my private mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Beloved Sister