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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Emilia Brown" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 23:33:36 -0700
Subject: Best regards
I am Mrs. Emelia Brown, I am 68 years old born in U.S.A, and I am suffering from a long time cancer of the Lungs which also had affected my entire well being, from all indication my conditions is really deteriorating. 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 level.
I was brought up from an orphanage home, was married to my late husband for twenty years and we lived in London until my husband died in a fatal motor accident in London. Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the money with a bank in London. Presently, this money is still with the bank and I have not operated the account for a long time due to my illness.
Presently, I'm with a laptop in my hospital room, where I have been under going treatment for cancer in the lungs for over one year. Recently, doctors told me that I have only a few months to live so I quickly called a pastor to give me positive advice concerning my money. He ministered to me to share this inheritance with the orphans in orphanage homes and people that need money for survival.
It is my last wish to see that some percentage (%) will be distribute among the charity organizations, the poor and orphans in orphanage homes where I came from and some percentage (%) for devoted individual that will utilize this money the way I wish. I took this decision because my time will soon be over and I do not want the bank to inherit the money if I eventually die.
I want you to honestly accept my decision and send me the following details to enable me instruct my bank to process all my money valued £3.5 million GBP and transfer to you as my beneficiary. As soon as I receive your reply and the details, I will issue a letter of authority to my bank which will empowers you as the beneficiary of my money, in as much as you give me assurance that you will do my last wish.
Your Full Name..................
Mrs. Emelia Brown