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:
- "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)
- ",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)
- 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: "Helen Tan" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2012 02:26:54 -0300 (ART)
I am Mrs Helen Tan suffering from cancerous ailment. I am married to Dato
Thomas Tan,a shipping tycoon notable for his great wealth,influential
extended family,and charitable activities all his life before his death.
Our life together as man and wife lasted for three decades without child.
My husband died after a protracted illness in April 17, 2010.
My late husband and I made a vow to uplift the down-trodden and the
less-privileged individuals in the society, as we both had passion for
those people who cannot help themselves due to physical disability or
financial predicament. I can adduce the fact that, we needed a Child from
this relationship which never came. When my late husband was alive he
invested in properties the sum of 25,000,000,00(Twenty Five Million United
States Dollars) when converted from Malaysia
Ringgit, which he derived from his vast investment in capital market with
a Security Company and named me as the sole beneficiary of this trust
funds upon his demise (all records are kept with my family lawyer).
Presently, the funds is still with the Security Company in Malaysia.
I have decided to Will to you 5,000,000,00usd to help in fulfilling the
wishes of my late husband and i because i had just been told by my doctor
that i have few days to live.
I have authorized my Private Attorney Patrick Hassan in Malaysia whom i
communicate with via emails everyday,to issue a Letter of Authority in
your favor to the Security Company handling this properties and this will
empower you as the beneficiary of this fund,he would also endorse my WILL
where i will include your name as one of my beneficiaries. My happiness is
that I lived a life worthy of emulation. Please always be kind hearted all
through your life.
I want you to immediately contact my Attorney through his email
firstname.lastname@example.org and provide for him all that he may
require to finalize this arrangement, please make sure to maintain a
confidential and Cordial relationship with him even in my absence because
he is a very Trust worthy and caring person.
Please assure me that you will act just as I have stated herein.
Mrs Helen Tan