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. )
- "trunk box" (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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: EDITH COLEMAN01 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2010 08:54:40 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Apostolic Greetings Donation From Mrs Edith Coleman
Apostolic Greetings Donation From Mrs Edith Coleman
Dearest in Christ.
With Due Respect And Humanity, I was compelled to write to you under a humanitarian ground. My name is.Mrs Edith Coleman,from Kuwait,I was married to late Dr.Lobi Coleman a contractor and diamond dealer for Thirty-two years before he died in the year 2005.
He died after a brief illness that lasted only four days Before his death we are both born again Christians.Since after his death, I decided not to marry again. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of (US$5.000.000 M )(five Million U.S. Dollars)in a security company here in Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire.Presently,this money is still with the Security company in Abidjan.
Recently,My Doctor told me about my condition due to my cancer problem and having known my condition I habe decided to handle over this money to a HONEST and God fearing Individual,group organization that will utilize this fund for the services of mankind,helping the motherless homes,orphans,widows,propagating of the Gospel and missionaries,as desired by my late husband when he was alive.
I took this decision because I dont have any child to inherit this fund,and I don't want this money to be used ungodly. I want you to always remember me in your daily prayers because of my up coming Cancer Surgery,although i am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going.
Write back to me as soon as possible because any delay in your reply will give me opportunity to look for another person for this same purpose. With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you other informations on how you can receive this money in the trunk box from the Security company.
I will be glad to hear from you soon. May God bless and keep us as we seek to serve him
Yours in Christ.
Mrs Edith Coleman.