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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "million united states 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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Stella Jacob <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 00:21:20 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: FROM MRS STELLA JACOB.
FROM MRS STELLA JACOB.
GREETINGS IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.I AM MRS STELLA JACOB FROM SIERA LEONE, A WIDOW TO LATE JACOB RICHARD AM 55 YEARS OLD,I AM NOW A NEW CHRISTIAN CONVERT,SUFFERING FROM LONG TIME CANCER OF THE BREAST,
FROM ALL INDICATION MY CONDITION IS REALLY DETERIORATING AND IT IS QUITE OBVIOUS THAT I WON'T LIVE MORE THAN 2MONTHS,ACCORDING TO MY DOCTORS,THIS IS BECAUSE THE CANCER STAGE HAS GOTTEN TO A VERY WORST STAGE.
MY LATE HUSBAND AND MY ONLY CHILD DIED LAST FIVE YEARS,HIS DEATH WAS POLITICALY MOTIVATED.MY LATE HUSBAND WAS A VERY RICH AND WEALTHY BUSINESS MAN WHO WAS RUNING HIS GOLD AND DIAMOND BUSINESS IN SIERA LEONE AND AFTER HIS DEATH,I INHERITED ALL HIS BUSINESS AND WEALTH.MY DOCTORS HAS ADVISED ME THAT I MAY NOT LIVE FOR MORE THAN 2 MONTHS,SO I NOW DECIDED TO DEVIDE THE PART OF THIS WEALTH, TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHURCH IN AFRICA,AMERICA,ASIA,AND EUROPE.I COLLECTED YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS DURING MY DESPERATE SEARCH ON THE INTERNET AND I PRAYED OVER IT.
I DECIDED TO DONATE THE SUM OF $18.000.000USD( EIGHTEN MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) TO THE LESS PRIVILEDGED BECAUSE I CANNOT TAKE THIS MONEY TO THE GRAVE.PLEASE I WANT YOU TO NOTE THAT THIS FUND IS LODGED IN A SECURITY COMPANY IN PEOPLE REPUBLIC OF BENIN IN WEST AFRICA WHICH IS THE COUNTRY WHERE I AM CURRENTLY RECEIVING TREATMENT.
ONCE I HEAR FROM YOU,I WILL FORWARD TO YOU ALL THE INFORMATIONS YOU WILL USE TO GET THIS FUND RELEASED FROM THE SECURITY COMPANY AND TO BE DELIVER TO YOU.I HONESTLY PRAY THAT THIS MONEY WHEN TRANSFERRED TO YOU,WILL BE SURE FOR THE SAID PURPOSE,BECAUSE I HAVE COME TO FIND OUT THAT WEALTH ACQUISITION WITHOUT CHRIST IS VANITY.MAY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS THE LOVE OF GOD AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF GOD BE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.
HOPE TO READ FROM YOU SOON
YOUR BELOVED SISTER IN CHRIST.
MRS STELLA JACOB