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 beloved," (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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 MARIA BEJES" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 20:36:03 +0100
Subject: Work For You
How are you.I hope this email will meet you good heaith
My name is Mrs. Maria Bejes I am a dying woman who has decided to donate
what I have to charities through you. You may be wondering why I chose
you.But someone has to be chosen. I am 59 years old and was diagnosed
forcancer about 2 years ago, after the death of my husband who had left me
everything he worked for. I have been touched by the Lord to donate from
what I have inherited from my late husband to charity through you for the
good work of humanity, rather than allow my relatives to use my husband's
hard earned funds inappropriately.
I am Mrs. Maria Bejes a dying woman have decided to Will/Donate the sum
10,300,000.00 for charities through you. help the motherless,lessprivileged
If you ready to carry on this task reply to: email address:firstname.lastname@example.org
I will be going in for an operation, and I pray that I survive the operation.
I have decided to Will/Donate the sum of 10,300,000.00 (Ten Million three hundred thousand Dollars)
to charities through you for the good work of the Lord, and to help the motherless,lessprivileged and
also for the assistance of the widows.
Presently, I have informed my consultant about my decision in willing
this fund to charity through you. I wish you all the best and may the good
Lord bless you abundantly, and please use the funds well and always extend
the good work to others. If you are interested in carrying
out this task, I will inform my consultant, so that he can arrange the
release of the funds to you. I know I have never met you but my mind tells
me to do this, and I hope you act sincerely. I decided that 30% of
this money should be taken by you from the total sum upon the success
release of this fund, because I am now too weak and fragile to do things
myself because of my cancer.Presently, I,m in a hospital where I have been
undergoing treatment for oesophageal cancerI have since lost my ability to
I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the
task is accomplished, as I don't want anything that will jeopardize my last
wish, due to the fact that I do not want relatives or family members
standing in the way of my last wish. If you ready to carry on this task
reply to: email address:email@example.com
God bless you and your family.