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:
- "million us 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Rachael Stewart" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 20 May 2012 15:08:01 +0100
Subject: DONATE THIS FUND TO YOU C
Mrs. Rachael Stewart.
23 Les Caches St.Martins,
I am the above named person but now undergoing medical
treatment in London England. I am married to Dr.Richard Stewart. who worked with
British Railway Commission in Chelsea England for over a decade before he died
on 5th of July in the year 2006.We were married for fifteen years without a
child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for two weeks.Before his death
he made a vow to use his wealth for the down trodden and the less privileged in
the society.Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my
matrimonial home.When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of
(Eighteen Million US Dollars) with one Finance House.Presently this money is
still with the Finance House.Recently my Doctor told me that I would not last
for the next 150 days due to cancer problem. Though what disturbs me most is my
stroke.Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to an individual
or better still a God fearing person who will utilize this money the way I am
going to instruct here in.I want an individual that will use this to fund and
provide succor to poor and indigent persons orphanages and widows and for
propagating peace in the universe.I understand that blessed is the hand that
given. I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit
this money and my husband relatives are not inclined to helping poor persons and
I do not want my husbands hard earned money to be misused or spent in the manner
in which my late husband did not specify.I do not want a situation where this
money will be used in an ungodly manner hence the reason for taking this bold
decision. I am not afraid of death hence know where I am going.I know that I am
going to be in the bosom of the Almighty.I do not need any telephone
communication in this regard because of my health and because of the presence of
my husbands relatives round me always.I do not want them to know about this
development. With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I
shall give you the contact of the Finance House.I will also issue you a letter
of authority that will empower you as the original beneficiary of this fund..I
want you to always pray for me. My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of
emulation. Whosoever that wants to serve the Almighty must serve him with all
his heart and mind and always be prayerful all through your life.Any delay in
your reply will give me room in sourcing for an individual for this same
purpose. Please assure me that you will act according to specification herein.
Hoping to hear from you.Thank you and May the Almighty God bless you.