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:
- "might come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Veronica Wilson" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 14:15:07 +0100
My email might come to you as a surprise and the Temptation to ignore it as unserious email but please try to re-consider it a divine wish and accept it with a deep sense of humility.
I am Mrs. Veronica Wilson from LONDON, I am 58 years old, I am suffering from a long time cancer of the breast. From all indication my condition is really deteriorating, and my doctors have courageously advised me that I may not live beyond next month, this is because the cancer stage has reached a critical stage. I was brought up in a motherless babys home, and was married to my late husband for twenty years without a child. My husband and I are true Christians, but quite unfortunately, he 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 $4.2million dollars with a Financial Company. Presently, this money is still in their custody, and the management just wrote me as the legitimate depositor to inform me of the maturity date of my deposit or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over as a result of my illness, or they get it confiscated.
It is my last wish to see that this money is been invested into a very good LUCRATIVE VENTURE of your choice that will be giving out proceeds to be distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the motherless babys orphanage homes and widows around. I must let you know that this was a very hard decision, but I had to take a bold step towards this issue because I have no further option. I hope you will help see my last wishes come true.
I will be waiting for your urgent response.
Yours in Christ,
Mrs. Veronica Wilson