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:
- "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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Elizabeth Flannigan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2010 17:24:36 -0400
Subject: Please Read
My name is Elizabeth Flannigan. I was married to the Late Dr. Alexander
Stuart Flannigan before he died on February 2nd 2005 after a brief
According to my Late Husband, “Life is a misery and nobody can tell
what can be of it; those that can tell what can be of it are those who
cannot tell us because they are far from us (Dead)”.
Before the painful death of my Late Husband, he worked with the Canadian
Embassy in Malaysia for Nine Years before he retired and went into full
Before I begin my story, it is important that I let you know who my Late
Husband was by stating vividly his philosophy of life “Life is worth
living only if lived to the service of mankind and you can only make a
living by what you earn, but you make life by what you give”
To start my story, I was married to my Late Husband for Fifteen Years
without a Child and since his death I decided not to re-marry; this is
basically my own decision to honor him for the love we shared and the life
we lived together.
Before the death of my Husband, we made something out of life and this I
have decided to use in setting up a Charity Organization in Honor of my
The sum of Twenty One Million, Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars
(USD$ 21.2 Million) is a presently in a Custody of an accredited Finance
Company in Malaysia. This amount of money was deposited by my Late Husband
in 2004 and we both agreed to use these funds to propagate the Work of
I was earlier this Month diagnosed of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
and my Doctor has told me that I would not last for the next Three Months
due to damage this cancer has done to my Body.
Having known my condition, I have decided to entrust this funds to an
honest Individual who will utilize this money in the manner at which the
funds are meant for.
Once I have received your response to this mail, I shall direct you to
contact my Attorney for further clarifications and possible advice and
Documents naming you the original Beneficiary of these funds will be sent
to you as we are proceeding further in this matter.
Beloved, I choose this means to locate you because I am sure that I will
be lead to the kind of person that will be totally honest with me. Due to
my health condition, delay in your reply will not be of any benefit to me
and this will propel me to search for someone else.
Please send you response to this email address: email@example.com
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I have stated above.
In His Arms
Mrs. Elizabeth Flannigan.