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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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 beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Florence Morgan" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2012 08:21:59 -0700
Subject: Re: MY LAST WISH (URGENT ATTENTION)
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I came across your email contact from my personal search and I instructed the doctor here in these hospital to help me email you and I believe that you will be honest to fulfill my final wish before I will die.
I am Mrs Florence Morgan from Fredonia, New york United State of America but presently in United Kingdom,and I am 69 years old,suffering from a long time cancer of the breast.From all indication my condition is really deteriorating, and my doctors have courageously advised me that I may not live beyond the next two months, this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a critical stage. I was brought up in a motherless babies home, and was married to my late husband John Morganfor twenty years without a child.
My husband and I are true Christians,we lived all lives in United Kingdom, since he was working here as a contractor, but quite unfortunately,he died in a fatal motor accident.Since his death I decided not to re-marry and because of my bad stage of health,I sold all my inheritance and deposited all the total sum of $12.8million dollars with a bank here in the United Kingdom.
Presently this money is still in the Bank, and the management of the Bank just wrote me as the Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive the money after keeping it for so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over as a result of my illness, or they get it confiscated.I'm with a laptop in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment which i use with the assistance of the nurses and my doctor around.I have since lost my ability to talk properly and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live.
It is my last wish to see that this my hard earn money is invested in any organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charities organization, the poor and the motherless babies home where I came from.I want your good humanitarian,to also use these money to fund churches, orphanages and widows within your reach.
I must let you know that this was a very hard decision, but I had to take a bold step towards this issue because I have no further option, I hope you will help see my last wish come true.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Bank in United Kingdom. I will also issue a letter of authority to the bank, which will prove that you are the new beneficiary of my funds.Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.Hope to hear from you soonest and the peace of they Lord be with you and your family.
My email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours dying sister in Christ,