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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "united state of america" (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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Maria Bridges" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2012 10:40:41 +0100
Subject: Waiting for your urgent reply
My dearest ,
I know it will be a great surprise to you reading from me today but consider this a divine intervention. My Name is Mrs.Maria Bridges I am 78 Years old and reside at New York City .I have to be brief as i am very weak at the moment. I had a Joint business with my Late Husband who Died in a terrorist Attack september 11 attack 2001 along with my lovely Daughter in United State of America,on that fateful day i felt that the world have come to an end but thank God that Obama regime have brought justice to the master minder but can never bring back the life of my lovely one.
I managed my late husbands investments, contracts and Estate until my present Medical Condition developed. Last year i experience restlessness and sleepless nights so my Doctor sent me on a general Medical Check up which i was finally diagnosed to have cancer of the blood cells ( Leukemia ) . Since i was not able to manage my multiple Investments anymore , i rather donate my money to the less privilege, orphanage homes and the Church than allow it been confiscate by government or people that i cannot trust.
I deposited the total of £12,500.000.00 (Twelve million five hundred thousand Great Britain Pounds) in cash with the Security Company in London after selling my properties in United Kingdom,due to the critical condition of my health, i could not deposit this money in the bank because i was afraid that i may not be alive and healthy to follow bank procedure on international transfer which will take time and energy. The Doctors says that i will die soon as my health is now critical in the Hospital, i can not travel now or utilize the money so i will like you to help me Claim the Money at the Security Company in London , take 50 % for your troubles and use the rest to change the lives of the less privileged in the society.
I am writing this letter to you because my inner most spirit revealed to me that you can help, use my money for the work of Humanity and to assist the less privileged in the society, motherless baby homes/orphanages, Widows,people that need money to survive and Basic Needs. I know that my story will sadden your heart but my new found life has made me understand that even if we die in this physical flesh, What matters is life after death. let me have your word to use the money wisely as i grew up in an orphanage home too. I will let you know how to reach to the Security company in UK and information on how to Claim it as soon as i have your word and promise not to betray my trust. I await your response as soon as possible with your full name,address and telephone number and email so that i will hand over the documents for the claim to you before i pass unto glory , please reply urgently to this email ( email@example.com )and may you be blessed,
(Mother Maria )