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:
- 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:
- "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. )
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Zaina Hameed" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2011 09:24:11 +0100
my name is Mrs. Zaina Hameed a citizen of Kuwait residing in the Turkey .I was married to Late Prince Sheikh Hameed of Blessed memory who was an oil explorer in Kuwait and Angola for twelve years before he died in the year 2000, we were married for twelve years without a child;he died after a brief illness. Since his death I too have been battling with both Cancer and fibroid problems. When my late Husband was alive he deposited a substantial amount of money worth US$7.4Million with a Security Company in the Turkey which I inherited after his death.
Recently, my doctor told me that I have only 2 month to live due to my ailment. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to either a charity/orphanage home or devoted God fearing individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct therein. I want this organization or individual to use this money in all sincerity to fund charity homes (Motherless homes), orphanages, and widows. I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husbands relatives are into radical organization and I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an unholy manner, hence the reasons for this bold decision. Please, pray for me to recover as your prayers will go a long way in
uplifting my spirit. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you further directives on what to do and how to go about actualizing this project.
I await your immediate response to my private email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
my dreams will rest squarely on your shoulders.
Mrs. Zaina Hameed