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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "KINGS" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2010 21:18:05 +0100
Subject: charity projects,deal
My name is Mrs. SARAH King 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,immediately after the death of
my husband who had left me everything he worked for.I have been
touched by the lord 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 husband's hard earned funds
inappropriately.I have asked the lord to forgive me all my sins and I
believe he has,because He is merciful. I will be going in for an
operation,and I pray that I survive the operation.I have decided to
WILL/Donate the sum of $10.5 Million (10 Million five hundred thousand
Dollars) to charity through you for the good work of the lord, and to
help the motherless,less privileged and also fortheassistance of the
widows At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls, due to the
fact that my relatives are around me and I have been restricted by my
doctor from taking telephone calls because I deserve all the rest I
can get.Presently,I have informed my lawyer about my decision in
WILLING this fund to charity through you. I wish you all the best and
may the good Lord bless you abundantly, and please use the funds well
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.I know i have never met you
but my mind tells me to do this,and I hope you act sincerely.I will
pay you 30% of this money if you will assist me because I am now too
weak and fragile to do things myself because of my cancer.NB: I will
appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task
is accomplished,as I don't 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. pls send email to my privet,email@example.com
address Love,SARAH King