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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Marina Thomas" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 17:51:58 +0100
Subject: HELLO MAY GOD BLESS YOU
I am Mrs. Marina Thomas, I am 62 years old from Kuwait Married to a Briton late Mr. Thomas, I am suffering from a long time cancer of the Lungs which also affected my hearing ability and my brain, from all indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that, according to my doctors they have advised me that I may not live too long, this is because the cancer has gotten to a very bad stage. I was brought up from a motherless babies home, was married to my late husband for twenty years without a child. My husband died in a fatal motor accident. Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of ?23M GBP and Two Trunk Box (Family valuables) with a Security Company.
Presently, this money is still with them I have already written them long before my illness got to this stage that I will give a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over because of my illness and these was rather part of our initial agreement as contained in the deed of lodge issued to me the day I deposited the funds with them. Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have been under going treatment for cancer of the lungs. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have months or year to live, but all depend on my ability to respond to the new treatment that will be prescribed. 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 babies home where I come from .I want a God fearing person, to also use this money to fund foundation for children suffering from cancer, or
phanages and widows. I took this
I will require some of your details like your full Name/address, age, personal email, occupation and telephone number even though I may not be able to speak with you on phone I will keep it for record purposed and also forward them to the security company so as to keep them updated that you will be acting on my behalf.As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Security Company. Secret Question/answer to the deposit, CERTIFICATE of deposit and other necessary document and details that will be required by the security company before they can transfer funds to you. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you as the sole beneficiary to my fund I will also write the security company that you are the only one I can trust to handle and use all the funds for the intended purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
I await your speedy reply.
Mrs. Marina Thomas