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:
- ",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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Sarah Wong" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2011 19:15:47 +0800
Subject: Greetings from Mrs.Sarah Wong,
Greetings from Mrs.Sarah Wong,
After going through your information over the internet I decided to contact you for friendship and assistance for distribution of my inheritance towards charity. My name is Mrs.Sarah Wong; I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have for the good work of charity. I am 65 years old and I was diagnosed for breast cancer for about 2 years now.
I have been touched by God to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband to you for the good work of God, rather than allow my husband evil relatives to use my husband hard earned funds ungodly. They don't care about man kind, all they care is how to rob some money from me and spend them ungodly.Please pray that the good Lord forgives me my sins. I have asked God to forgive me and I believe he has because He is a merciful God. I will be going in for a surgery soon and I want to make sure that I make this donation before undergoing my surgery.
I decided to donate the sum of $3,500,000 (Three Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) to you for the good work of the lord, and also to help the motherless and less privilege and also for the assistance of the widows and unfortunate mothers. At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls right now due to the fact that my husband's relatives are always around me and trying to see if they can overhear my conversations and my health status as well.
I wish you all the best and may the good Lord bless you abundantly, and please use the funds well and always extend the good work to others. I have informed my consultant about the ($3,500,000.00). it is true that I don't know you and you don't know, but I have been directed by God to contact you for this. Thanks and God bless. I will direct you further after hearing from you.
NB: I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplished as I don't want anything that will jeopardize my wish. Also I will be contacting with you only by email as I don't want my husband relations or anybody to know because they are always around me. Reply through my direct email: (firstname.lastname@example.org)