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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "i got your email address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Mary Osaro" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 19:06:46 -0500
Subject: Read Get Back ASAP
My Dear Friend,
I am Mrs. Mary Osaro, a 48 years old widow from Nigeria, married to late Dr. Princewill Osaro who worked with Mobile Oil Company here in Nigeria. My late husband died in a ghastly motor accident with our two children on our way to see my parents in-law in his hometown. Since the death of my late husband, I decided not to re-marry due to my illness which have defied all medical treatment and my doctors have informed me that I have a short time to live on earth. When my late husband was alive, he deposited the sum of US$18.5M (Eighteen Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) in a bank here in Nigeria and my late husband's relatives are doing everything humanly possible to see that they collect this money from me as I am even suspecting them of killing my late husband with voodoo and also responsible for my illnes that have defied all medical treatment. I got your email address from the web directory and decided to contact you so that you can receive this money on my behalf as the beneficiary as I
Presently, this money is still with the bank here in Nigeria and the management just contacted me to come and sign some vital documents to enable them transfer this money to my account as the beneficiary/next of kin. I have decided to transfer this money to you for the charity work that I have proposed and all that I will need from you is your trust to see that this money is utilized for the charity work I have earmarked for it. I will issue to you a letter of authority as the new beneficiary of this money once I hear from you to enable the bank transfer this money to you. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated in my mail and also keep this contact confidential until this money is released to you as the beneficiary. This is to ensure that nothing jeopardizes my last wish on earth as 30% of this money will be for your effort while 70% should be for charity work. Please I need your trust and believe that you will not disappoint me. My soul will rest in peace if only my last wish on earth is
Remain blessed while I await your urgent reply.
Mrs. Mary Osaro.