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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Anna Gonzalez" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 22:18:56 +0100
Subject: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!
My name is Mrs. Anna Gonzalez. I am 63 years old. I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have to you for charity/ motherless babies/less privileged in the world. I was diagnosed for cancer for about 2 years ago. I have been touched by God to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband to you for good work of God. I have asked God to forgive me and believe he has because he is a merciful God. I will be going in for an operation on Friday.
I got your contact from a business directory and picked you randomly for this project. I decided to WILL/donate the sum of US$9.8 Million dollars to you for the good work of God. At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls right now due to the fact that my relatives (That have squandered the funds I gave them for this purpose before) are around me and my health status also.
My family lawyer is aware of the fact that I will adjust my WILL as soon as you get back to me with your name and address, telephone and fax number, I will forward the deposit Certificate to you and the lawyer so that he can contact the bank where the $9.8M is deposited in safe, sealed Box and instruct them to immediately move the deposit to your address, bank or whichever way you deem appropriate to receive the deposit. I will inform them I have willed the funds to you so you will have full access to use the money for charity purpose. The deposit reference number: MGR/WDS/95773/50015/MSVD/3196US/UK.
All I ask of you is to make sure that you use this money for the work of God and service to humanity. I know I don't know you but I have been directed to do this by God. I wish you all the best and may the good God bless you abundantly as you work toward this humanitarian mission.
Lastly, I want you to pray for me regarding my health, because I have come to find out that wealth acquisition without God in one's life is vanity upon vanity. If you have to die, says the Lord: keep fit and I will give you the crown of life. I believe we serve the same God and that we are all going back to him when we die.
Respond immediately with your name, address, contact information and I will give you details to open up communication with the company and my personal assistant. May the Grace of our Lord, the love of God, and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and forever more, Amen. You can reply directly to my email or you can send a fax to the hospital in C/O Mrs. Anna Gonzalez. The hospital fax number is: +442071836528.
Your sister in the lord
Mrs. Anna Gonzalez