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:
- "dearest one," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "HELLO" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 14:01:22 -0800
Subject: Hello My Dearest one,
Hello My Dearest one,
Greeting and peace of the Lord be upon you as you read this message, I know this letter will come to you as a huge surprise, but I implore you to take the time to go through it carefully as the decision you'll make will go a long way to facilitate my peaceful repose and the manifestation of my last wish.
I am Mrs.Josephine Woodgate an aging widow of 72 years old suffering from long time chronic organ failure resulting from terminal cancer which has left me paralyzed and bedridden for the past 3 years.
Before his demise I was notified by my late husband Michel Woodgate who died in the Air France Flight 447 crash that he had an outstanding and unclaimed cash deposit account worth the sum of US$18,500,000.00 whose deposit documents bears my name as the next of kin and is presently facing danger of being declared a dormant account and returned to the government treasury.
My present state of health does not permit me to take any direct action here and i do not wish to have the sweat of my late husband end up in the hands of undeserving government officials. I need a very honest and God fearing Christian who I can make the executor of my WILL and have this unclaimed funds released to so it could be used for charity works.
MY GREATEST WISH AS CONTAINED IN MY RECENTLY UPDATED WILL IS TO SECURE AND USE THE FUND FOR CHARITY WORKS.I choose you from the several email contacts presented to me by the nursing staff and after honest prayers to the LORD to bring me a helper and i decided to contact you if you may be willing and interested to handle these trust funds in good faith before anything happens to me.
I am in urgent need of your cooperation and I believe a divine force is driving me to contact you for this noble task; you must not fail me and the thousands of the poor people in our today WORLD that may benefit from it. This is my legitimate inheritance and NOT stolen money and no dangers of loss of freedom or any security harassment will befall you for taking charge of this fund and using it for the purpose I have at heart since it is a legal risk free transaction and advised by my lawyer and the management of the bank where it is deposited since my health is fast deteriorating.
Please if you are willing to cooperate with me as my legally appointed executor of my last Will and Testament and ensure my inheritance is put to good use benefiting the less privileged and victims of natural disasters around the globe, let me hear urgently from you before my next surgery so as to link you up with my lawyer in case the doctors predictions happens.
Mrs. Josephine Woodgate.