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:
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Maria Chavez" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2010 04:13:55 -0800 (PST)
Subject: My dearly beloved God Fearing Brother / sisters (Urgent).
My Dearly Beloved,
It is by the grace of God that I received Christ,having known the truth,I had no choice than to do what is lawful and right in the sight of God for eternal life and in the sight of man for witness of God?s mercy and glory upon my life.
I am Mrs. Maria Chavez 56years old woman . I am married to Gabriell Chavez , who died as a result of plane crash in cotonou, Benin Republic on the 25th of December 2003.Visit this website for details: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-12/26/content_293549.htm We were married for Thirteen (13)years without a child. Before his death we were both born again Christians.
Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home.
When my late husband was alive he has sum fund with the bank in europe.
The management just wrote me as the beneficiary to come forward to sign for the release of this money or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf if I can not come over.
Presently,I'm in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer
My Doctor told me that I would not last long due to cancer problem. Though what disturbs me most is my partial stroke.
Having known my condition I decided to donate this funds to church or better still a God fearing individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct here in.
I want a church / Mosque or individual that will use this money to fund churches / Mosque, orphanages and widows propagating the word of God and to ensure that the house of God is maintained.
It is my last wish to see this money distributed to charity organizations any where in the World since i know that you/your organization can handle such. Because relatives and friends have plundered so much of my wealth since my illness,I cannot live with the agony of entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them.
The Holy Book made us to understand that blessed is the hand that giveth.I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not God fearing and I don't want my husband's hard earned money to be misused by unbelievers.
I know that I am going to be in the bossom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace.With God all things are possible.
As soon as I receive your reply I will advise you on what to do next.
I want you and the church to always pray for me because the lord is my shepherd and I shall not want. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Hoping to hear from you.
Reply me and Remain blessed in the name of the Lord.
Mrs. Maria Chavez.