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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Sherry Morgan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2010 00:45:45 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: FROM SHERRY MORGAN
FROM SHERRY MORGAN
I'm the above named person from Nigeria . I am married to Dr. Morgan Jones who worked with Nigerian Embassy in Canada for nine years before he died in the year 2005. We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. 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 which the Bible is against.When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $40.5Million (FOURTY MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND U.S.Dollars) with a Security Company in Nigeria. Presently, this money is still with the SECURITY FIRM and the management just wrote me as the beneficiary to come forward to receive the money, rather issue a letter of authorisation to somebody to receive it on my behalf if I can not come over or the money enters into the company's tressury fund.
Presently, I'm in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for oesophageal cancer. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live considering the natured of my ailment. It is my last wish to see this money distributed to victims of this HURRICANE and other charity organizations, because my 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. Please,I beg you in the name of God to help me collect the deposit and distribute it accordingly.
I want a person that is God fearing that will use this money to finance churches,orphanages and widows propagating the word of God and to ensure that the house of God is maintained. The Bible made us to understand that Blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision after i sought for a divine direction from God, because as a human its not really easy with making this decision, besides, i dont have any child of my own that will inherit this money and my husband's relatives are not Christians and I don't want my husband's hard earned money to be misused by unbelievers. I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner.
Hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not afraid of death since I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that "the lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace". I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my soundless voice and presence of my husband's relatives around me always. I don't want them to know about this development. With God all things are possible i beleive. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Security Company. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you as the new beneficiary of this fund. I want you and the church to always pray for me because the lord is my fortress.
My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of a Christian. Whoever that wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and truth. Please always be prayerful throughout your life. Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing for another person for this same purpose.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Hoping to hearing from you soon.
yours in Christ,