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:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Archer William" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2010 18:29:31 +0100
Subject: My Name is Mrs. Bridget Akosus Asiamua
My name is Mrs. Bridget Akosus Asiamua, a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have to charity through any thoughtful and selfless someone, I got your information while browsing through the internet, although I am not comfortable using this medium owing to the unsolicited emails everywhere but someone has to be used to save this transaction. So, I honestly crave your indulgence to digest and do what I have to say, please.
I am a 59 years old woman and was diagnosed for cancer about 2 years ago, after the death of my husband who had left me everything he worked for. I have decided to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband for charity through you since I cannot do it all by myself considering my circumstances.
I have WILLED/donated the sum of $3,500,000 (Three million five hundred thousand united state dollars) to you/Organization for the less privileged rather than allow my greedy relatives to use my husband's hard earned funds inappropriately.
I will be going for an operation tomorrow morning and at the moment I cannot take any telephone calls, however, I already advise my Executor to adjust my WILL to your name as my relative and beneficiary to my US$3,500,000.00. Please, you and him should arrange the transfer of the funds from my Bank to your humble self, wherever you are. Please contact my Executor with his private E-mail:
NAME: BARRISTER FESTUS CHUKUNONAZU
With your full names, phone/fax numbers and your contact address and tell him you are the one that I have WILLED the sum of $3,500,000 to, for specific and good work.
I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplished as I do not want anything that will jeopardize my last wish. I will try and be in contact with you at any given opportunity.
I wish you all the best and, please use the funds well and always extend the good work to others.
Mrs. Bridget Akosus Asiamua
Dr Archer William is my personal doctor and I am sending you this mail through his email.