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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Jennifer Wagner" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:26:04 -0700
Subject: GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER
Good day and God bless you. I feel quite safe and satisfy dealing with you in this charity project.Though, this medium (Internet) has been greatly abused, I choose to reach you through it because it still remains the fastest, surest and most secured medium of communication. However, this correspondence is purely private, and it should be treated as such.
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday. My name is Mrs. Jennifer Wagner , a merchant in Dubai, in the U.A.E. I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer . It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts.
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.
I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it. Now that God has called me, I have willed and given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as a few close friends.
I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so, I have decided to give aims to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth. So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the U.A.E, Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore. I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization in Bulgaria and Pakistan, they refused and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them.
The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS $12,000,000,that I have with a finance/Security Company abroad. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatched it to charity organizations.
I have set aside 25% for you and for your time if you want to help me to collect this Funds and also invest this money.
N.B-PLEASE I WILL ADVISED YOU TO CONTACT THE ATTORNEY IN NETHERLANDS IMMEDIATELY, HE DOES EVERYTHING ON MY BEHALF AND HE'S VERY UNDERSTANDING AND I BELIEVE HE WILL LEAD YOU TO YOUR SUCCESS IN JESUS NAME AMEN.
Name: BARRISTER. LEONE EDWARD JONES
Remain blessed in the name of the Lord.
Yours in Christ,
Mrs. Jennifer Wagner
Note: reply email to: firstname.lastname@example.org