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:
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "stay blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Irene Cesarec" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 00:33:38 +0100
Subject: TRUSTEE NEEDED
My names are Mrs. Irene Cesarec. I was diagnosed of cancer about 2 years ago, and was receiving treatment for it, but now the doctors are saying I have a short time to live.
When I was in better health, I never really cared for any body with no children of my own and a late husband I was a selfish and greedy person. I have decided to donate the sum of $10.8M to you, so you can disburse to charities, widows, orphans and less privileged. I was doing this myself but now my health has deteriorated, I wanted my relatives to do this for me but they only saw it as an opportunity to enrich themselves.
I will be going in for an operation soon, I want this last act of mine to be an offering unto God, perhaps he will have mercy on me. Please contact my lawyer with the below:
Henry Townsend Esq
Quote my ref # : will/Wlaw/Pn/lr/93/ytx/ when responding.
I am sending him a copy of this message as well so he is aware of my intentions, Please use the funds well and always extend the good works to others.
Mrs. Irene Cesarec.