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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Sandy Sobczynski" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2011 09:56:16 -0000
Subject: Mrs.Sandy Sobczynski
Dearest in Christ Jesus,
My name is Mrs.Sandy Sobczynski, I am married to late Mr.Sobek Sobczynski he died in the year October 2007. We were married for twenty years with a child. He died after the illness that lasted for four days. Please I know this may come to you by surprise, because you did not know me, I needed your assistance that was why I write you through divine direction, it is my desire of going into relationship with you.
Before his death we were both born again Christians. When my late husband was alive we deposited the sum of (18.5 Million U.S.Dollars) with one of good banks here in Abidjan Cote D'Ivoire Presently, this money is still with the bank. Recently my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next three months due to my cancer problem, though what disturbs me most is my stroke. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to church or better still a Christian individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct here in. I want a person or church that will use this fund to churches, orphanages, research centers and widows propagating the word of God and to ensure that the house of God is maintained. The Bible made us to understand that blessed is the hand that gives.
I took this decision because I have a child that will inherit this money but my son can not carry out this work only because i and my late husband decide to use some of the money to work for God and live some for our son to have a better live. our son is just 17year old now and been grow up in Africa, he have low manterity and my husband's relatives are not Christians and I don't want my family hard earned money to be misused by unbelievers, I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner. Hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not afraid of death hence 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 case and I shall hold my peace.
I will like you to understand that my contact to you is a divine direction from God, I don't want any of my husband family relatives to receive this money but I know that With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Finance/bank. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will empower you as the new beneficiary of this fund. I want you and the church to always pray for me because the lord is my shepherd. My happiness is that I live a life of a worthy Christian. Whoever that wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and truth, Please always be prayerful all through your life. Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing for a church or Christian individual for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated here and Please I will like you to contact me Immediately you receive this mail so that I will instruct the Bank to transfer this fund into your account.
Remain blessed in the name of the Lord.