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:
- "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 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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Sahu Arafat" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2012 19:48:41 -0700
Subject: DEAR BELOVED YOUR REPLY IS NEEDED!!!
Greetings to you in the most wonderful name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
.His richest blessings shall be upon you forever. I am Mrs.Sahu Arafat, I am 53
years old from Bolton United Kingdom am deaf and suffering from a long time
cancer of the Lungs and Pneumonia which also disordered my mental system long
time ago, from all indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is
quite obvious that, according to my doctors they have advised me that I may not
live for the a long period of time, this is because the cancer stage has gotten
to a very bad stage.
I was brought up from a motherless babies home, was married to my late husband
for twenty years without a child.My husband died in a fatal auto accident on his
way to work on a broad day light. Before his death we were true Christians.
Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited belongings
and deposited all the sum of $8.5million dollars with a Security Company in
London because we spent our lifetime there and he worked there all his life with
an oil company (Chevron Petroleum Plc.) Presently, this money is still with them
and the management just wrote me as the true owner to come forward to receive
the money for keeping it so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to
somebody whom I trust to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over
because of my illness or they get it traded on or diverted to the Federal
Presently, I'm with my old laptop in a hospital where I have been undergoing
treatment for cancer of the lungs together with the Pneumonia disease.Since then
I have lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only few
months to live. It is my last wish to see that this money is invested to any
organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charity
organization, the poor and the motherless babies home where I come from. I want
you to be a God fearing person, to also use this money to fund
churches,orphanages,widows and the less prevlages because there is nothing to
live for any more, and it is said that blessed are those that giveth to the ones
I took this decision, before I rest in peace because my time will soon be up. As
soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Security
Company in London. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove
you as the new beneficiary of my fund.Please assure me that you will act
accordingly as I stated herein. I shall wait for your prayerful reply, thanking
you in His precious name.May God Bless You Abundantly for your considerations
and seeing reasons why we must help the poor and the less previlages.
Your`s in Christ
Mrs. Sahu Arafat