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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Maria Fletcher" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2012 19:17:42 +0100
Subject: Re. is me again Mrs. Maria Fletcher
I am Mrs. Maria Fletcher , i am an Iranian women who was married to Late Mr.Fletcher from Angola of blessed memory who was an oil explorer in Kuwait and Russian for twelve years before he died in the year 2007. We were married for twelve years without a child; he died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. Since his death I too have been battling with both Cancer and fibroid problems. When my late Husband was alive he deposited a substantial amount of money worth USD 90,000,000 (Ninety Million U.S Dollars) with a bank abroad which I inherited after his death.
Recently, my doctor told me that I have only few months or less to live depending on the area of infestation caused by the wide spread of the cancer I am having that is responsible for my ailment. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to either a charity/orphanage home or devoted God fearing individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct therein. I want this organization or individual to use this money in all sincerity to fund charity homes (motherless homes), orphanages, and widows. I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husbands relatives are into radical organization and I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an unholy manner, hence the reasons for this bold decision. Please, pray for me to recover as your prayers will go a long way in uplifting my spirit.
I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health condition which has seriously affected my speech and respiratory tract and also because of the presence of my husband's relatives around me. I don't want them to know about this development. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you further directives on what to do and how to go about actualizing this project. I will also instruct my late husband lawyer to file an application on your behalf to the bank where the funds were deposited for the transfer of the money to you for this purpose. I want you to always pray for me.
Any delay in your reply will give room in sourcing for an organization or a devoted Individual for this same purpose. I need you to provide me with your full details below, while responding to this email. Until I hear from you by email. My dreams will rest squarely on your shoulders.
May God be with you and your entire family as you replies to assist me.
Remark: Please do reply me with your information to the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date of Birth:
Gender: male/ female
Mrs. Maria Fletcher .