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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million united states 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Mary Philip," (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2010 09:57:18 +0100
Subject: SAVE MY LIFE AND CHILDREN PLS.
DEAR BELOVED COMPLIMENT OF THE SEASON/ SAVE MY LIFE AND CHILDREN PLS.
I greet you in the name of our lord. My name isMrs.Mary Philip,
I am a widow and a mother of Two all girls. I know you will see my letter to you as an embarrassment considering the fact that we do not know ourselves. I plead with you to be patient with me I feel very pleased to contact you for some assistance and business relationship.
I live in Nigeria with my children. My late husband was a loving, caring and hardworking businessman who died unfortunately In a ghastly auto crash. Before the sudden death of my beloved husband, and father of my daughters, my late husband intended to establish a business in the united states of America with the sum of$30 million united states dollars, but unfortunately he died before this proposed venture. Following his death, his family members insisted that I am not entitled to his property (Assets and money) since I am a woman and my offspring's all girls as I do not have a male child for my husband. Well, according to some barbaric traditional laws here in Nigeria (Africa)which doesn't permit a woman to inherit a man's property, as they are expected by tradition to take over the management of his business and other properties including myself who automatically becomes a wife to one of his immediate brothers.
Unfortunately to this wicked family members, the $30million united states dollars which my late husband intended to use in establishing a business in the United States was deposited in a bank account unknown to his family .
I and the lawyer is the only one aware of this money, so I have discussed this matter with a staff of the bank that i want this money personally so that I will be able to take care of my children's educational needs since my husband's family members vehemently opposed the furtherance of their education. According to the staff of the bank, the best way to secure this money is to transfer this money to a bank account outside Nigeria For safe-keeping, later it will be used for business establishment subject to the Advise of whosoever finally assists us. At this juncture, I there fore ask for your sincere assistance in providing us with your bank details and the enablement to facilitate the remittance of this fund into your nominated account.
As soon as I get your positive response, I shall provide you with all the necessary detail for this transfer. However, I have decided to to give you 30% of the total money as a reward for your sincere assistance and the remaining 70% of the money will be for my investment as I will want to keep aglow my late husbands dream of investing in real estate. To be able to help me, kindly send through my email, your personal details including your contact information for easy communication.
Thanking you for your anticipated response.