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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Pauline <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2012 03:00:44 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Greetings From Mrs Pauline Edeh
Greetings From Mrs Pauline Edeh
I am Mrs Pauline Edeh from Russia,i am 58 years suffering from a long time cancer of the breast that is deteriorating and it is quite obvious that i can't work or do any stressful thing, and my doctor advised me that i may not live for the few months,this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage. I Was married for over 20 years without a child, I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of $5.5million dollars with Biao Bank Cote Ivoire.
It is my last wish to see that this money is donated to any organization/business of your choice and distributed to the charity organization, E.g the motherless babies home where i came from,the deaf homes.
All i seek for is a God fearing person who will carry out my last wishes. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Bank in Abidjan.
Waiting for your reply.
Yours in Christ,
Mrs. Pauline Edeh