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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "MRS. GRACE GOETZ" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 09:14:25 -0700
I am Mrs. Grace Goetz a citizen of Germany. I got your contact from the
International web site directory, prayed over it and selected your name
among other names due to it's esteeming nature and the recommendations
given as a reputable and trust worthy person who can benefit my worth all
desire. I am married to Late Larry Goetz of West Coast Mining Limited
General Manager Ghana, since his death I have been battling with both
Cancer of the lungs and fibroid problems. While he was alive, he deposited
a substantial amount of money worth Twelve Million United State Dollars
with a Financial Institution here in the Accra-Ghana where he works as a
manager in West Coast Mining Limited Ghana which I inherited after his
death. My worries now reason of contacting you are that my doctor notified
me recently that I have less than one month to live due to my unfortunate
ailment. I decided to hand over this funds to a devoted (God) fearing
individual that will utilize this money for charity purpose and to help
the needy the way I am going to instruct them.
Having known my health condition I decided you to donate this money to a
good charity organizations and orphanage homes in your country. I also
took this decision because I am a widow and my husband relatives are not
honest with my husband when he was alive, they are enemies of progress and
don't have the fear of God in them and I have to avoid them from having
any idea about this money.
I took this bold decision to contact you personally as a foreigner for
assistance so that the money can hand over to you as my foreigner partner
once my pastor present you to the safe keeping company where the money was
deposited, because I have handed all the relevant document including the
deposit certificate to my pastor.
Please my dear in the Lord use this money as I directed you since I can
not come over due to my hearth and I have helped some people right here in
my country including my church.
Contact my pastor, Rev. Fr Andy Best so that he shall direct you to where
the money was deposited and explain in full details all you need to know
about this matter. Please I want you and your family to always pray for my
healing and always be prayerful to God in all the days of your life.
God works for those that work in His Vineyard. Pls contact my pastor, Rev.
Fr Andy Best to help you to assist you at email@example.com
Mrs. Grace Goetz