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:
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Isabella Estrada" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2010 18:33:02 +0300
I am presently residing in my home town for treatment as I have being
diagnosed by specialists that I have a little time left as the cancer
in me is growing fast.My name is Isabella and I am from Brazil.
This ailment has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now
I have only about a few months to live,according to medical experts and
that is why I have decided to take this bold step.
I lost my husband,Mr.Patrick Estrada,who was a high commissioner to Britain
in 2003 after a very brief illness and we had no issues before his untimely
demise.I have at present,no living relative or next of kin to lay claim to
my assets and most importantly,a substantial amount left me by my late husband.
Now that I am sick and cannot go on,I want to give this out as my last donation
before I move on.
I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for
anyone (not even myself) but my business.Though I am very rich, I was never
generous,I was always hostile to people and only focused on my business as that
was the only thing I cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know that
there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the
world.Now I feel so terrible about this things hence my decision.
I want to believe that you will be capable of handling this task for me.
I will wait to hear from you to know if you are capable of doing this favour
for me.May the Lord bless you as you decide to do this .I will await your response
and thank you for deciding to be used by the Lord for this task.I would throw
more light on this donations as soon as i get your response.I cannot reveal
much at this stage for obvious reasons.So please forgive me but I promise to give
you more details as soon as I hear from you.