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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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 beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "may come to you as a surprise" (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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "George Michelle" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2011 02:28:52 +0800
Subject: READ CAREFULLY AND REPLY.
This letter may come to you as a surprise due to the fact that we have not yet met.
After searching through the internet, I am contacting you to let us assist children of conflict, to help children affected by war and disaster, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because I believe everyone will Die someday. Let me start by introducing my humble self,
I am George Michelle, a merchant here in England presently taking medical treatment.
Now, I have been diagnosed with Prostate cancer. It has defiled all form of medicine and right now, I have only about a few months to live according to medical experts. To be sincere with you, I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone. Though I am wealthy, I was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world.
I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it. Now that I know my time is almost up, I have willed and given most of my properties and assets to my immediate and extended family members and as well as a few close friends. I have decided to give alms to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth.
So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in Myanmar, Indonesia, China, and Africa at large. Now that my health has Deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this my self any more. I once asked Members of my family to close one of my accounts and donate the moneyWhich I have there to some charity organizations in Myanmar,Indonesia,China and Africa at large, they refused and kept the Money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be content with what I have left for them.
The last of my money is the huge cash deposit of 15.5 Million Dollars that I have With a bank in England. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and distribute it to charity organizations and let them know that it is I, Mr.George Michel That is making this generous donation.
Use your judgment to distribute the money and keep 25% of it to yourself. Feel free to reimburse yourself when you have the money for any cost you incur during the process of collecting and distributing the money.
I am writing this from my laptop computer in my hospital bed where I wait for my time to come.
If you are willing to help and handle this project as i have wished, please contact me immediately through this email:email@example.com
As soon as I receive your sincere response, I will hence give you all the Necessary details of what next to do.
Remain blessed in the name of the Lord.
George Michelle .