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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Yookima Wana" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2011 01:02:00 +0100
Subject: I NEED YOUR URGENT RESPONSE.
From-Mrs. Yookima Wana
My name is Mrs. Yookima Wana I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have to charity through you.
You may be wondering why I chose you. But someone has to be chosen. I am 59 years old and was diagnosed for cancer about 2 years ago, after the death of my husband who had left me everything he worked for. I have been touched by the Lord to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband to charity through you for the good work of humanity, rather than allow my relatives to use my husband hard earned funds inappropriately.
I have asked the Lord to forgive me all my sins and I believe he has, because He is merciful. I will be going in for an operation, and I pray that I survive the operation. I have decided to WILL/Donate the sum of Five Million Five to charity through you for the good work of the Lord, and to help the motherless, less privileged and also for the assistance of the widows. At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls, due to the fact that my relatives are around me and I have been restricted by my doctor from taking telephone calls because I deserve all the rest I can get.
Presently, I have informed my consultant about my decision in WILLING this fund to charity through you. I wish you all the best and may the good Lord bless you abundantly, and please use the funds well and always extend the good work to others. If you are interested in carrying out this task, I will inform my consultant, so that he can arrange the release of the funds to you. I know I have never met you but my mind tells me to do this, and I hope you act sincerely. I decided that 35% of this money should be taken by you from the total sum upon the success release of this fund, because I am now too weak and fragile to do things myself because of my cancer.
NB:I sincerely know that a lot has been written about some SCAM coming out of the world, but I assure you that this will never in any way associated with that as you will be given the right to verify this directly with the finance company where the fund was deposited.
I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplished, as I don not want anything that will jeopardize my last wish, due to the fact that I do not want relatives or family members standing in the way of my last wish.
Mrs. Yookima Wana
PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR FULL NAME, ADDRESS, TELEPHONE/FAX NUMBER ON YOUR REPLY FOR EASY AND IMMEDIATE COMMUNICATION WITH MY CONSULTANT.