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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Post; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Dolly Wong" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2012 12:51:48 +0100
Subject: Dear friend
I have sent you this message because of the need to open discussions with you. I don't want you to misunderstand this offer in any aspect, if it is okay with you I ask for your full co-operation.
I am Mrs. Dolly Wong married to Michael Wong from Malaysia who worked with a construction company in Asia for twenty Years before he died in the plan crash, we were married but without Any children. Since his death I decided not to remarry and presently I am 69 Years old. When my late husband was Alive he deposited the sum of US29.5OO.OOO with a Bank Presently this money is still with the Bank and the management just wrote me as the beneficiary to come forward to receive the money or rather Issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf if I cannot come over. I am presently in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment Cancer of the lungs in a hospital, I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live. I want a person that is trustworthy that will utilize this money to fund churches, orphanages and widows around the world.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Bank. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you as the new beneficiary of this fund. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated here in and Keep this contact confidential till such a time this funds get to your Custody. This is to ensure that nothing jeopardizes my last wish on Earth.
As you may understand, due to my husband sensitive position in the present government, it is not safe to communicate with me via phone or fax. Please all your correspondence should be forwarded to my lawyer who reside in London-United Kingdom
Mr. Scott K.Wingate
Wright & Co.
International House, 1-6 Yarmouth Place
Mayfair, London W1J 7BU, United Kingdom
Tel: +44-770 006 6906
I await your urgent reply.
Mrs. Dolly Wong