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:
- "million united states 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)
- 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. Ruth Hull" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2010 05:07:24 -0700
Subject: MY LAST WISH.
Dear beloved one in Christ,
I knew that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I came across your email contact from my personal search and I instructed the doctor here in this hospital to help me email you and I believe that you will be honest to fulfill my final wish before I will die.
I am Mrs Ruth Hull from Malaysia, I am 68 years old, I am deaf and suffering from a long time cancer of the breast. From all indication my condition is really deteriorating, and my doctor have courageously advised me that I may not live beyond the next two months, this is because the cancer stage has reached a critical extent, of which I am having difficulties unable to move my entire body. I was brought up in a motherless babies home, and was married to my late husband for twenty years without a child.
My husband and I are true Christians, we lived all day in Colorado, U.S.A, since he was working here as a contractor, but quite unfortunately,he died in a fatal motor accident.Since his death I decided not to re-marry and because of my bad state of health,I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of ($25.8 Million United States Dollars) with a bank in Malaysia.
Presently, this money is still in the BANK, and the management of the BANK just wrote a letter to me as the rightful Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive the money after keeping it for so long 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 present cancer illness situation, or they get it confiscated. Presently, I'm with my laptop computer in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctor have told me that I have only a few months to live.
It is my last wish to see that this money is invested in any organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the motherless baby's home where I come from in Malaysia. I want your good humanitarian,to also use this money to fund churches, orphanages 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 to come true.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of my lawyer to work and source for the required necessary and legal paper to proof you as the accredited person I sent to receive the fund presently at the Bank in Malaysia. I will also issue a letter of authorization to the bank, which will prove that you are the rightful beneficiary of my funds. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hope to hear from you soonest.
I await your immediate and urgent response on this my beloved.
On My Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in Christ,
Mrs Jane Smith.