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:
- "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)
- "% will be for you" (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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2012 15:18:08 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Read Carefully, From Mrs. Jemis Khartoum
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I am giving you my trust and wish you will give me back the trust i have given you.
I am Mrs. Jemis Khartoum, I am 67 years old, I am suffering from a long time cancer of the blood. From all indication my condition is really deteriorating, and my doctors have courageously advised me that I may not live beyond the next two years, this is because the cancer stage has reached a critical stage. I was brought up in a motherless babies home, and was married to my late husband for twenty years without a child, but quite unfortunately my husband died, Since his death i decided not to re-marry, I sold all his belongings and deposited all the sum of $10.2million dollars with a Bank Abroad.
Presently, this money is still in their custody, i need you to receive the money on my behalf since I can not traveled as a result of my illness, and after receiving the money we will plan on how to fly me abroad for treatment.
Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment. I have since lost my ability to walk about or do anything by myself and my doctors have told me that I have only a few years to live.
It is my last wish to see that this money is transferred to you and help me invested it in any good business and 20% will be for you.
As soon as I receive your reply together with your contact details I shall give you the contact of the Bank Abroad, I will also issue you a letter of authority, which will prove that you are the new beneficiary of my funds.
Hope to hear from you soonest,
If you find this letter offensive, please ignore it and accept my apologies.
Mrs. Jemis Khartoum: