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)
- "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.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs.Mary Louis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2012 18:29:29 -0700
Subject: Greetings in the name of God
Greetings in the name of God please let this not sound strange to you for my
only surviving lawyer who would have done this died early this year. I prayed
and got your email id from your country's Christian guest book which I
have been with my late husband and liked to visit once more if God will in his infinite
I am Mrs.Mary Louis. from London I am 58 years old, I am suffering from a
long time cancer of the lungs which also affected my brain, 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 next two months,
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 motor accident
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
10million dollars with my First Inland Bank.
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 to receive it on my behalf
since I can not come over because of my illness or they get it confiscated.
Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital in London where I have been
undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. My doctors have told me that I
have only a 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 babyâs home.
I want you as God fearing person, to also use this money to fund churches,
orphanages and widows, I took this decision, before I rest in peace
because mytime will so on be up.
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 my fund.Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. You are requested to send to me the following information to enable me use it to
write a Letter of Authorization on your behalf to the bank so that they will
release the money to you as my new next of kin.
NAME: __________SURNAME:__________________SEX: _____ AGE: ______MARITAL:
_______________COUNTRY: CONTACT ADDRESS: ________________________PHONE
please reply me through this my private email address:
Hoping to hear from you soon.