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:
- "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: Mrs Esther Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 14:59:30 -0800 (PST)
Subject: PLEASE HELP ME
I am Mrs Esther Brown from LONDON, I am 69 years old,i am deaf and suffering from a long time cancer of the breast which also affected my brain,from all indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that, according to my doctors they have advised me that i may not live for the next two months,this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage.
I was brought up from a motherless babies home was married to my late husband for twenty years without a child ,died in a fatal motor accident Before his death we were true Christians.Since his death I decided not to re-marry,I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of $5.500 million dollars with a Security Finance Company.
Presently, this money is still with them and the management just wrote me as the true owner to come forward to receive the money for keeping it so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over because of my illness or they get it confiscated.
Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. 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 to 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 a God fearing, to also use this money to fund churches, orphanages! And widows, I took this decision, before I rest in peace because my time will soon be up.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Security Company. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you as the new beneficiary of my fund.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hoping to hearing from you soon.
Waiting for your reply.
Yours in Christ
Mrs Esther Brown