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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mary Bernard <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 11:15:24 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Donation From Mrs. Mary.
Donation From Mrs. Mary.
I know my mail will come to you as a surprise,due to the fact we have never met before But I have a special reason why I decided to contact you. I decided to contact you because of the urgency of my situation, It is with tears that I am writing this message to you from a hospital bed,
My name is Mrs. Mary Bernad, I am married to (Eng Mr.Patrick Bernard) from South Africa (S.A) who has an appointment in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire as the chief Managing director to(Cocoa Farmer Association Abidjan-Cote D'Ivoire) under Engineering project/contract awarding section.
My husband died as a result of brief illness called heart attack, while he was coming back from (SA) new location area on project inspection on Saturday 10th December 2006.Before his death as a result of our joint account venture we have $7.3 million (US) dollars in our fixed deposit account.
Dear one I was brought up as an orphan and was married to my late husband for 5 years without a child and am of age, I am 50years now and am suffering from kidney infection and a long time cancer of the lungs, which has partially affected my brain, and from all indication my condition is really deteriorating.
According to my doctors, my health is very poor because of the cancer ailment, I can not stay to live up three months ahead, and I am having serious problem with my husband's family members.
I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the lord will fight my course and I shall hold my peace. Therefore I need a God fearing person who will assure me that he/she will use this fund to help the Motherless babies, Orphanage, Charity organization and less privileged once, and using for word of God.
I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money. As soon as I receive your reply I will also issue a letter of authorization to the bank that will prove you the present beneficiary of this money. I also want you, Church or Organization to always pray because I don't have many days to live. for me because the Lord is my only Shepard. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. Whoever that wants to serve the Lord must serve Him in spirit and truth. Please always be prayerful through your life.
Pls any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing another good person, church or organization for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hoping to receive your response immediately,
Yours Mrs.Mary Bernard.