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:
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs OWENS Amanda <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 13:53:44 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Charity donation support from Amanda Owens (MRS)
Charity donation support from Amanda Owens (MRS)
Espace Medical Hospital
Ave 14 Rue 23 Abobo,
Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.
Dearest in Christ,
I greet you in the name of our lord Jesus Christ that made me to find you
through his grace. I am Mrs Amanda Owens from Kuwait , wife of late Idiris
Owens, who worked with Kuwait embassy in Ivory Coast before his death. My
husband died after a brief illness which lasted only four days and before the
death of my husband, both of us were converted from Islam to Christians.
We were married for many years without a child and after the death of my
late husband, I decided not to re-marry or make a child outside my matrimonial
home.But due to my cancer illness, few days ago my doctor politely explained to
me that I will not last for the next few weeks and now it is my wish to give my
inheritance (US$ 4.7million)as donation for orphanages, care for widows and
elders, schools, churches and also propagating the word of god.
I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this
fund and I don't want my late husband's efforts/fund to be used in an ungodly
way or without a memorial of us.
Finally, if you consider yourself worthy of this trust because my sickness
can no longer permit me to start distributing this fund in all diverse areas as
mentioned, kindly respond to me on privately on Email;firstname.lastname@example.org for
more clearifications because I don't need any telephone communication in this
regard as a result of my ill health.
Thanks and please pray for me.
Yours sister in Christ
Amanda Owens (MRS).