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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million dollars" (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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Joy Brown" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2012 15:35:58 -0800
Subject: Dear Friend In God
Greetings in the name of God Please let this not sound strange to you
for my only surviving lawyer who would have done this died early this
year. I prayed and got your email id from your country guest-book. I
am Mrs. Joy H. Brown I am 68 years old, I am suffering from a long
time cancer of the lungs which also affected my brain, from all
indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite
obvious that, according to my doctors they have advised me that I may
not live for the next two months, this is because the cancer stage has
gotten to a very bad stage.
I was brought up from a motherless babies home was married to my late
husband senator (Nelson Uche Brown) for twenty years without a child,
my husband died in a fatal motor accident Before his death we were
true believers. Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all
my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of $9.8 million
dollars in my personal bank account with the Bank.
Presently, this money is still with them and the management just wrote
me as the true owner to come forward to receive the money for keeping
it so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to
receive it on my behalf since I can not come over because of my
illness or they get it confiscated.
Presently, I am in a hospital here in Switzerland where I have been
undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. My doctors have told me
that I have only a few months to live. It is my last wish to see that
this money is invested to any organization of my choice and
distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the
motherless babys home.
I want you as God fearing person, to also use this money to fund
church, mosque, orphanages and widows, I took this decision, before I
rest in peace because my time will so on be up.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the
Bank. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you
as the new beneficiary of my fund.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Hoping to hear from you soon. NAME:
__________SURNAME:__________________SEX: _____ AGE: ______MARITAL:
CONTACT ADDRESS: ________________________PHONE NO#___________FAX
Waiting for your information
Mrs. Joy Brown