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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mother Dian Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2011 00:50:39 +0100
Subject: Greetings In The Name Of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Subject: Faith Of Donation
From: Mother Diane Smith (Evangelist)
Greetings In The Name Of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am Mother Diane Smith, a widow to late Richard A. Smith, I am 75 yrs
old,I am now a new Christian convert, suffering from long time cancer
of the breast, from all indication my condition is really deteriorating and
it's quite obvious that I won't live more than two months, According to
This is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage.
My late husband killed during the U.S raid against terrorism in
Afghanistan,and during the period of our marriage we had a 23 yrs old son who
died in an auto crash three years ago.
My late husband was very wealthy and after his death I inherited all
his business and wealth. The doctor has advice me that I may not live for
more than two months, so I now decided to divide the part of this
contribute to the development of the church in Africa, America, Asia
and also in Europe.
I prayed over it, and I am willing to donate the sum of Five Million
Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars (USD$5,500, 000.00) to the
Please I want you to note that this fund is lying in a security company
and upon my instruction, my attorney, will file in an application for
the transfer of the money in your name.
Lastly, I honestly pray that this money when transferred will be used
for the said purpose, because I have come to find out that wealth
acquisition without Christ is vanity. May the Grace of our Lord Jesus the
love of God and the fellowship of God be with you and your family. I await
your urgent reply.
Please kindly get back to me on my private email address
(firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are willing to help for further
details and directive.
Yours In Christ,
Mother Diane Smith.