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:
- "million 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)
- 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: "FROM Mrs Rachel Rivett" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 10:18:31 +0200
Subject: FROM Mrs Rachel Rivett
My name is Mrs Rachel Rivett. I was born in USA. I am married to Mr. David Rivett, director J.D industries.I was brought up from a motherless babies home i was married to my late husband for twenty years without a child,he died in a fatal motor accident Before his death we were true Christians.Since his death I decided not to re-marry,I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of $3.2 million dollars with a Security Finance Company.
Presently, this money is still with them and the management just wrote me as the true owner to come forward to receive the box for keeping it so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over because of my illness or they get it confiscated.
Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live. It is my last wish to see that this money is invested to any organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the motherless baby's home where I come from. I want a God fearing, to also use this money to fund churches, orphanages! And widows, I took this decision, before I rest in peace because my time will soon be up.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Security Company. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you as the new beneficiary of my fund.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hoping to hear from you soon.at (email@example.com)
Yours in Christ
FROM Mrs Rachel Rivett