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)
- "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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Barbara Oates" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2012 14:40:53 -0800
Subject: Yours in Christ Jesus
MY GOOD FRIEND IN CHRIST,
I am Mrs Barbara Oates from Netherlands,I am 58 years old,i am Deaf suffering from a long time cancer of the breast,from all indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that i can't work or do any stressful thing, according to my doctors they have advised me that i may not live for the next four 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 (Roberto Oates) 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 USD45million dollars with a Bank in London,United Kingdom .Presently, this money is still with the Bank in London and the Board Of Directors Of the bank just wrote me as the true beneficiary to come forward to receive the money since the funds has stayed for a very long time in there custody .
Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital in Frankfurt Germany where I have been undergoing treatment for my sickness and I have since lost my ability to talk.
It is my last wish to see that this money is invested/donated to any organisation/buisness of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization,E.g the poor homes,the motherless babies home where i came from,the deaf homes,and churces etc .All i seek for is a God fearing person like you ,who will carry out my last wishes .
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of my Lawyer also in London,Uk who will direct you on how to receive the funds. All i need from you is a confidential assurance that the funds when recieved by you will be used for the said purpose.
Waiting for your reply.
please feel free to reply to my email address below: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in Christ,
Mrs. Barbara Oates