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 beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS. YASMIN MOHAMMED" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 8 Aug 2010 21:33:51 +0100
Subject: PLEASE RESPOND URGENTLY
As you read this mail,my desire is that You find a Place in Your Heart to assist me in fulfilling
My Late Husband's Last Wish/will.I am Mrs.Yasmin Mohammed from Lebanon.My husband worked with the Chevron/Texaco in Russia for twenty years before he died in the year 2003. Presently,I am in a hospital in the Northern Ireland undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer and recently,My Doctor told me that I have a very short time to live due to this Health problem but what disturbs me most though,is the stroke I had recently.
I and My Husband were married for fifteen years without a child.He died after a brief illness that lasted for Six weeks Before his death,he made a vow to use his wealth for the down trodden and the less privileged in the society.And since his death,I have been trying to get someone I can trust to help me execute his wish,
hence my sending you this mail.When my late husband was alive,he made a Huge Cash Deposit totalling US$12,500,000,00
(Twelve Million,Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars)which was concealed in a Diplomatic Box and Lodged with a Security Company abroad as Family Valuables and no one knows of this huge cash deposit till Date. Having known my condition,I decided to donate this fund to an individual or better still a God fearing person who will utilize this money in the way I am going toinstructherein.
Furthermore,because relatives and friends have plundered so much of my Late Husband's wealth since my illness,Please,I beg you to help me stand as the beneficiary and collect the Funds from the Finance and Security Company in United Kingdom.
I want You to take Custody of the fund and use it for Charity Works as I have any child that will inherit this money.As soon as I receive Your response comfirming Your acceptance to act on My behalf to Claim these Deposit,I shall furnish You relevant information thereto,which will authorise the Release of these Funds to You as my
duly assigned Representative.Please,for further communication on how we are going to conclude this.
Please,do note that time is of essence due to my present Health Condition and as such,I appeal that prompt action needs to be taken so that this Deposit can be released while am still Present.