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:
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ashley Johnson" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 19:17:56 +0100
Brethren in the lord.
Greetings to you and your family! My name is Ashley Johnson, I am 59 years old deaf aging widow suffering
from a terminal disease Cancer for about 5 years now. I have just been informed by my doctor that I have a short
time now to live on earth, I have no kids and my husband is dead and most of my trusted relatives are also dead.
During my quiet time with the lord, he has directed me to inform you of his Desire to have you as his servant, I
inherited the sum of US$9,000.000 from my late husband and now that I have a short time to live on earth, I
sought for an honest person that will distribute the funds amoung the charity homes, I got your contact through
a deep search of likely relatives.
However, I have realized that if anything happens to me now, the bank will use that as an opportunity to confiscate
the funds. Hence I have prayed and cried to the lord for divine direction and he gave me a vision of faith in my dreams
then I woke up and opened my bible to Leviticus 5:15 : it says "if any one commits a breach of faith and sins unwittingly
in any of the holy things of the LORD or defy the lord's command, he shall bring, as his guilt offering to the LORD a ram without
blemish out of the flock, valued by you in shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary; it is a guilt offering". I beseeched
the LORD to direct my steps and I am now imploring you to help me realize my dreams and obey God's command, more privileged information
will be communicated to you upon my receipt of your positive response.
I look forward to your prompt and committed response, you should have no course to entertain any fear at all hence the transaction
is 100% risk free.
Awaiting your prompt response.