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:
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Nina Mayers" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 11 May 2010 16:28:55 -0500
Subject: DEAR FRIEND
My name is Mrs. Nina Mayers. I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have to charity through you.You may be wondering why I chose you. But someone has to be chosen.I am 59 years old and was diagnosed for cancer about 2 years ago,years after the death of my husband who had left me everything he worked for.I have decided to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband to charity through you for the good work of humanity,rather than allow my relatives to use my husbands hard earned funds inappropriately.I am presently in London waiting for an
operation and praying that I survive. I have decided to WILL/Donate the sum of US$10.5 Million (TenMillion, Five hundred thousand united state dollars) of my husband investment in to charity through you for the good work of humanity, and to help the motherless,less privileged and also for the assistance of the widows. At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls, due to the fact that I have been restricted by my doctor from taking telephone calls because I deserve all the rest I can get before the operation.Presently,I have informed my lawyer about my decision in WILLING this fund to charity through you. I wish you all the best of luck, and please use the funds well as I want it to be a seed i have sown and always extend the good work to others.If you are interested in carrying out this task,i will inform my Family Lawyer so that he can arrange the release of the funds to you. You may wonder, why dont i call the the many charity group and donate the fund to them, that is t
he more reason i have contacted y
NB: I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplished,as I dont want anything that will Jeopardize my last wish, due to the fact that I do not want relatives or family members standing in the way of my last wish. If you are wiling to help in this course kindly reply to this email to enable my lawyer contact you.
Some personal questions?
Are you married?
How old are you?
Your Phone Number/Fax?
What kind of work / business do you do?