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:
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Terra R. Nicholas" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2012 08:09:40 -0700
Subject: Hello My Beloved in the Lord
HELLO MY BELOVED IN THE LORD.
I AM ,MRS. TERRA R NICHOLAS
FROM REPUBLIC OF IRELAND, BORN IN THE STATE OF OHIO USA. I AM LEGALLY MARRIED TO MR. GODFREY NICHOLAS, A SOUTH AFRICA CITIZEN BORN BROUGHT UP IN SWITZERLAND, I LIVE IN SWITZERLAND WITH MY HUSBAND FOR 32 YEARS BEFORE WE MOVE DOWN TO SOUTH AFRICA IN 1985 AFTER MY HUSBAND RETIREMENT IN 1974, I AM 71 YEARS OLD BY THE GRACE OF GOD, I AM A NEW CHRISTIAN CONVERT, SUFFERING FROM LONG TIME CANCER OF THE BREAST.
ALL INDICATION FROM MY DOCTOR THAT MY CONDITIONS IS REALLY DETERIORATING AND IT IS QUITE OBVIOUS THAT I WOULDNT LIVE MORE THAN TWO MONTHS, ACCORDING TO MY DOCTORS AND IN ALL INDICATION REGARDS TO MEDICAL ANALYSIS.THIS IS BECAUSE THE CANCER DISEASE HAS GOTTEN TO A VERY BAD STAGE THAT NO HOPE FOR ME TO BE A LIVING PERSON AGAIN. MY DEAR HUSBAND WAS INVOLVED WITH THE JANUARY 2000 KENYA AIRWAYS PLANE CRASHED AS YOU CAN SEE ON THE NEWS LINE WEB SITE.
40 YEARS PERIOD OF MARRIAGE LIFE, STILL WE COULD NOT PRODUCE ANY CHILD, MY LATE HUSBAND WAS VERY WEALTHY AND AFTER HIS DEATH, I INHERITED SOME PART OF HIS BUSINESS AND MONEY IN THE BANK. THE DOCTORS HAS ADVISED ME THAT I MAY NOT LIVE FOR MORE THAN ONE MONTHS AND 2 WEEKS AND WARN ME TO DECEASE FROM THINKING OVER WHO IS GOING TO INHERIT ME, TODAY I HAVE DECIDED TO DONATE CONTRIBUTE TO THE LESS PRIVILEGES, CHARITY AND ORPHANAGE HOMES. I MADE THIS DECISION AFTER LISTING TO THE NEWS LINE ABOUT 100 YEARS OLD WOMAN WHO SECRETLY DONATE HER FORTUNE UPON HER DEATH,
I CHOOSE YOU AFTER VIEWING YOUR PROFILE AND I HAVE CONFIDENT IN YOU BECAUSE I HAVE PRAYED. I AM WILLING TO DONATE THE SUM OF $20.5MILLION U.S DOLLARS, TO THE LESS PRIVILEGED. PLEASE I WANT YOU TO NOTE THAT THIS FUND IS STILL IN THE BANK WHERE MY HUSBAND DEPOSITED IT. I AM GOING TO ADVICE MY LAWYER TO CHANGE MY LAST WILL TO YOUR NAME AND FILE IN AN APPLICATION FOR THE TRANSFER OF THE MONEY IN YOUR NAME. LASTLY, I HONESTLY PRAY THAT THIS MONEY WHEN TRANSFERRED WILL BE USED FOR THE SAID PURPOSE EVEN THOUGH I AM LATE THEN OR ALIVE, BECAUSE I HAVE COME TO FIND OUT THAT WEALTH ACQUISITION WITHOUT GOD IS VANITY ACCORDING TO THE WISEST KING IN ISRAEL KING SOLOMON, AND I MADE THE PROMISE TO GOD THAT THE FUND WILL BE USE TO HELP THE NEEDY AND THE LESS PRIVILEGE,.
MAY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD THE LOVE OF GOD AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF GOD BE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, PLEASE FURTHER DISCUSSION CONTACT ME WITH MY EMAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com
I AWAIT URGENT REPLY.
MRS. TERRA R NICHOLAS