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:
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Angela Barnor" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2011 10:02:32 -0800
Subject: How are you and your famiy?
How are you and your famiy?
I am Mrs. Angela Barnor. I am married to Late Vincent Barnor of blessed memory who is an oil explorer in Libya and Kuwait for twelve years; before he died in the year 2001. We were married for twelve years without a child. My husband died after a brief illness that lasted for only four nights. Since his death I too have been battling with both Cancer and fibroid problems. When my late Husband was alive he deposited a substantial amount of money in millions of dollars with a Finance Firm oversea.
Recently, my doctor told me that I have only six months to live in this world due to cancer problem. Though what disturbs me most is my stroke sickness. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to either a charity/orphanage home or devoted God fearing individual/company that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want this organization or individual to use this money in all sincerity to fund charity homes (motherless homes), orphanages, and widows.
Although, I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are into radical organization and I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an unholy manner. Hence the reasons for this bold decision. Please, pray for me to recover as your prayers will go a long way in uplifting my spirit. I don't need any telephone communication in this regard, because of the presence of my husband's relatives around me always and my doctor has advised me not to speak on phone because of my health.
I don't want them to know about this development. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you further directives on what to do and how to go about actualizing this project. I will also issue a letter of authorization to the Finance Company authorizing them that the said fund has being willed to you and a copy of such authorization will be forwarded to you. I want you to always pray for me. However, any delay in your reply will give room in sourcing for an organization or a devoted Individual for this same purpose. Until I hear from you by email; my dreams will rest squarely on your shoulders.