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:
- 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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a "dying widow" 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: "Debbie Freeman" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2011 23:44:47 +0800
Subject: Dear beloved one in christ
Dear beloved one in Christ,
I know that this letter may appear as a big surprise to you but the lord chose you.I came across your
email contact from my personal search and i decided to email you despitethat i am on the sick bed.
I am presently admitted in the hospital and I believe that you will be honest to fulfill my final
wishes before death.
I am Mrs Debbie Freeman from (Philadelphia) Pennsylvania, United State of America and presently in
Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia. I am 69 years old, I am deaf and cannot hear and am suffering from a long
time cancer of the breast. From all indication my condition is really deteriorating and doctor
Sam have courageously advised me that I may not live beyond the next two months, this is because
the cancer have reached a critical stage.
I was brought up in a motherless babies home, and i was married to my late husband Johnson Freeman for
twenty years without a child. My husband and I are true Christians, we lived together all day in
Kuala Lumpur since He started working here as a contractor, but quite unfortunately,He died in a fire
accident which burned him to ashes and none of is body was found, Since his death I have decided not
to re-marry and because of my bad stage of health.
I sold all the inheritance which belongs to me and my late husband Johnson and deposited all the total
sum of $98.8,000,000.00,Ninety Eight Million, Eight Hundred Thousand United State dollars with the
(National Bank Of New York City) in Flushing, New York, United States and all our treasures, diamonds
and golds with a security company here in Malaysia.
Presently, this money is still in the bank, and the management of the National Bank New York City just
wrote to me as the Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive the money deposited for a long
period now or rather issue a letter of authorization to some one i trust so as to receive the funds on my
behalf, since I can not be present due to my health state otherwise they will get the funds confiscated
or moved into government account as an unclaim funds and i don't want these to happen to me.
My dear beloved one, because this is me and my late husband hard earned. Presently I can only communicate
through my laptop here in the Hospital where I have been undergoing treatment,I have since lost my ability
to talk and Doctor Sam have told me that I have only a few months to live On earth. It is my last wish to
see that me and my late husband hard earned money is invested in any organization of your choice and
distributed yearly among the charities,orphanage,the poor and the motherless babies home where I come from.
I want your good humanitarian to also use these money to fund churches, orphanages homes and widows around
your environmnets. I must let you know that these was a very hard decision, but I had to take a bold step
towards these issue because I have no further option, I hope you will help see my last wishes come true.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact information of my bank manager Mr John Clay in
United States and I will issue a letter of authorization in your name from my late husband attorney so you
can forward to my bank, which will prove that you are the new beneficiary of my funds,Please assure me that
you will act accordingly as I stated in my email.
Hope to hear from you soonest my beloved one in Christ.
I await your response back my dearest beloved.
My first Email to reach me back :
Yours sincere sister in Christ,
Mrs Debbie Freeman.