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:
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Anna Hartzell" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2012 02:33:14 +1100
Subject: Re: Let Us Do This For The Charity
My name is Anna Hartzell, a 65 years old German woman, suffering from a
long time cancer of the breast, I am a missionary and I have decided to
Willingly Donate the sum of $5.5 Million (Five Million, Five hundred
thousand Dollars) to charity and individual through you for the good work
of the lord, and to help the motherless, less privileged and also for the
assistance of the widows.
My coming in contact with you is solely by the divine will and no doubt
about it. Please like i told you earlier I'm a missionary woman from U.S
but residing in Ghana for the missionary works.
My husband was an Engineer with an oil company in Ghana, In fact it is too
sad to let you know that i lost my dear husband and two kids in a tragic
motor accident, and since then i have been battling with this deadly
breast cancer disease which most specialist doctors have confirmed that i
may not survive no matter what. All i want to do now is to present you as
my family next of kin to receive the $5.5 million which me and my husband
deposited in a security company. I want you to receive this money and use
it to help the less privileges, widows and orphans.
Kindly furnish me your full name and your address also your contact
number, so that I will prepare all relevant documents with the assistance
of our family lawyer to effect the release of the fund to you.
Mrs. Anna Hartzell