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:
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- 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.
- 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: "Margriet Bernhard" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2010 07:31:29 +0100
Subject: Hello Dear
My warm greetings to you. Do take this email as real and contribution to
humanity development. This is not an easy task due to my health condition and that is the main
reason why I contacted you after viewing your profile from the international directory.
Not actually that you are the best with my intellectual grading but I was
driven to contact you from the innermost being. And that was my main reason for getting
to you. Please do not be offended and I will understand completely if you cannot be of
assistance to me.
My name is Mrs.Margriet Bernhard; I am a dying woman who has decided to
donate what I have to you for humanity services. I am 58 years old (Netherlands
Citizen) and I was diagnosed for cancer for about 1 years ago immediately after the death
of my husband who has left me everything he worked for and because the doctors told
me I will not live longer than some weeks because of my health.
I decided to WILL/donate the sum of $5,500 000 (Five million, five hundred
thousand dollars) to you for the good work of humanity and also to help the motherless and less
privilege and also for the assistance of the widows.I wish you all the best and may the good Lord
bless you abundantly and please use the funds well and always extend the good work to others.
Here is the Contact information of my Attorney below:
Notario & Tribunal
and tell him that I have WILLED $5,500 000 (Five million, five hundred thousand
dollars) to you and I have also notified him. I know I don't know you but I have been
directed to do this.
NB: I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the
task is accomplished as i don't want anything that will jeopardize my
>From Mrs.Margriet Bernhard