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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Susan Becknell" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2011 15:20:47 -0500
Subject: Dear friend
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I came across your email contact from my personal search and I instructed the doctor here in this hospital to help me email you and I believe that you will be honest to fulfill my final wish before I will die.
I am Mrs. Susan Becknell, from Australia, I am 68 years old, I am deaf and suffering from a long time cancer of the breast, which also affected my brain. From all indication my condition is really deteriorating, and my doctors have courageously advised me that I may not live beyond the next two months; this is because the cancer stage has reached a critical stage. I was brought up in a motherless baby's home, and was married to my late husband for twenty years without a child. My husband and I are true Christians, but quite unfortunately, he died in a fatal motor accident.
Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of $3.8million dollars with a BANK in Ivory Coast. Presently, this money is still in their custody, and the management just wrote me as the Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive the money after keeping it for so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over as a result of my illness, or they get it confiscated. Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live.
It is my last wish to see that this money is invested in any organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the motherless baby?s home where I come from. I want your good humanitarian, to also use this money to fund churches, orphanages and widows around. I must let you know that this was a very hard decision, but I had to take a bold step towards this issue because I have no further option. I hope you will help see my last wishes come true. And i want you to please be sure that everything is handle perfect and legitimately.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the BANK in Ivory Coast. I will also issue you a letter of authority, which will prove that you are the new beneficiary of my funds. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hope to hear from you soonest I have to rest now till i hear from you. Am very tired.
Awaiting your reply
Yours in Christ,
Mrs. Susan Becknell.