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:
- "million us 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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Michelle Shelton" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 12:51:42 -0700
May the peace of the Lord be upon your (respond to me today?)
I am Mrs. Michelle Shelton from Switzerland, suffering from cancerous ailment. I am married to Engineer Albert Shelton an Englishman who is dead. My husband was into private practice all his life before his death. Our life together as man and wife lasted for three decades without a child.
My husband died after a protracted illness. My husband and I made a vow to uplift the down-trodden and the less-privileged individuals as he had passion for persons who can not help themselves due to physical disability or financial predicament. I can adduce this to the fact that he needed a Child from this relationship, which never came. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $18.5, million us dollars to a Security and Finance Film in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia which were derived from his vast estates and investment in capital market here in Swiss.
Presently, this money is still with the Finance Firm .Recently, my Doctor told me that I have limited days to live due to the cancerous problems I am suffering from. Though what bothers me most is the stroke that I have in addition to the cancer. With this hard reality that has be fallen my family, and I have decided to donate this fund to you and want you to use this gift which comes from my husbands effort to fund the upkeep of widows, poor people, motherless babies, widowers, orphans, destitute, the down-trodden, physically challenged children, barren-women and persons who prove to be genuinely handicapped financially.
It is often said that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are bourgeois and very wealthy persons and I do not want my husband's hard earned money to be misused or invested into ill perceived ventures. I do not 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 where I am going. I know that I am going to be with the Almighty when I eventually pass on.
The Almighty will fight my case and I shall hold my peace. I do not need any telephone communication in this regard due to my deteriorating health and because of the presence of my husband's relatives around me. I do not want them to know about this development. With God all things are possible.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the full details of the Finance Firm in kl Malaysia. My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation. Please always be prayerful all through your life and assure me that you will act just as I have stated herein. Hope to hear from you soon and God bless you and members of your familys, I shall wait to receive your reply soon and remain blessed in the Lord.
Yours Sincerely in Christ,
Mrs. Michelle Shelton