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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "god fearing " (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Concerned Citizen" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 13:01:28 -0800
Subject: Charity assignment:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I am a Briton and a Neurosurgeon Consultant in the United Kingdom. I have withheld my name for confidential reasons and publicity. I shall provide you with my data's and profile when you have confirmed your interest in the subject matter. I am writing on behalf of my patient, whom due to serious spine injury could not walk nor write but mentally sound. And she is also been diagnosing of multiple cancers (Acute Leukemia, Pancreatic cancer and Lung cancer). She has confided in me and under her specific instructions, I made this contact to you as she has asked me to do to help her get a concerned and good caring citizens of the world whom would be willing to assist her execute her Charity Projects & objectives. Is unfortunate that my professionalism does not permit me the chance to handle this project personally, hence the reason I am soliciting your assistance in this matter.
My patient is from Freeport, Bahamas, married to a wealthy businessman and a philanthropist (a CEO to several shipping companies across the Freeport on the island of Grand Bahamas). She married for 12 years without a child until her husband died December 2005 after a brief illness. She is 60 years old and has inherited the entire husband's businesses and properties of great fortune, but was struck with serious illness that she can hardly survive few months. She has confided her intentions to me and begged me to make sure that her wishes and desires are executed in godly manners.
She wants to donate this fortune of inheritance 40,000 Troy Ounce Finest Gold, worth several millions of dollars to an organization or good person that has fear of GOD that will honestly utilizes this money in accordance to her wishes and desires. She want an organization or good person irrespective of religious that will use this funds to help the orphans, widows, establishing churches and mosques (for propagating the words of GOD) and building a charity foundation for helping the needy like people affected by natural disasters anywhere around the world. She made this decision because she does not have any child that will inherit this money. Moreover, her husband relatives are pagans and are of a questionable characters, and not worthy of this inheritance as she has informed me.
Therefore if you are interested, honest and God fearing irrespective of your religion and believing that you can help her execute her wishes and desires as she has stated, please kindly indicate by a return email confirming your acceptance of her offer. She has promised to reward you 10% of the inheritance if you are able to help her achieve her objectives.
I look forward to your reply soon.