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:
- "trunk box" (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)
- "abidjan" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: STELLA CLEMENT <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 15:47:57 -0800 (PST)
Subject: My Dearest in Christ,
My Dearest in Christ,
Remain blessed in the Lord
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ our Lord, we have to worship our Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart, because we have determined to remain under the covering of his anointing, Obedience to his purpose and living a life that honours him will keep us under his hand of blessing.
My name is Mrs Stella clement now undergoing medical treatment here in General Hospital Abidjan Cote d'ivoire, I am married to Late Mr.William clement Jones who was the Former interior minister and a great politician in cote d'ivoire political arena. Because of my Husband's sincerity, He was killed on the 19Th day of September 2008 by unknown soldiers in his residential house during the coup plot in Cote d'Ivoire in 2008, We were married without a child.
Before his death we were both born again Christian. When my late husband was alive he deposited a diplomatic Metallic Trunk box contained money the sum of ($3.800.000.00) Three million Eight hundred thousand dollars in a [security company] here in Cote d'Ivoire. Presently, this box is still in Security Company. Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next 3 Months due to cancer problem. The one that disturbs me most is my stroke sickness.
Having known my condition I decided to donate this funds to you, and I Strongly believe you will utilise this money the way I am going to instruct here in. I want you to use this fund to provide succour to poor and indigent persons, orphanages and widows and for propagating peace in the universe. I want to assure you that this transaction is 100 % risk free as no other person knows about this box and the content of it apart from me and you.
I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not Christians, they are idle worshippers moreover they are not inclined to helping poor persons and I don't want my husband's efforts hard earned money to be used by unbelievers nor to be misused or spent in the manner in which my late husband did not specify. This is the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord.Exodus 14 VS 14 says that "the lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace".
I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health hence the presence of my husband's relatives around me always. I don't want them to know about this development. With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Security Company here in Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire. I want you to always pray for me. My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation. Whosoever that wants to serve the Almighty must serve him with all his heart and mind and always be prayerful all through your life.
Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing for an individual for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act according to specification herein. Hoping to hearing from you. Thank you and May the Almighty God bless you.
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Yours in Christ.