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.
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "LADY SANDRA COLE" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2012 04:30:17 -0500
May this email meet you in good health.
I am Lady. Sandra Cole, I am married to Sir James Cole who is an
Englishman though dead now. My Husband was a principal consultant for
over two decade before the cold hand of death took him away on the 23rd
of August 2008 at about 2:00AM. Our marriage lasted for over a decade
without any fruit of the womb. My husband died after a protracted
My husband and I made a vow to uplift the down-trodden and the
less-privileged individuals within the United Kingdom, Europe, North and
South America, Africa and the rest of the globe as he had passion for
persons who can not help themselves due to physical disability or
financial predicament. I can adduce this to the fact that he needed a
Child from this relationship, which never came. When my late husband was
alive he deposited the sum of 2.8M (Two Million Eight Hundred Pounds
Sterling) with a Financial Firm in Europe. Presently, this money is still
with the Firm.
Recently, my Doctor told me that I have a limited numbered of days on
earth and that my life span will not exceed 150days due to the cancerous
problems I am suffering from. With this hard reality that has befallen my
family and I, I have decided to donate this fund to a non-governmental,
or a non religious, and or a non profit organization or better still an
individual with the fear of God that will utilize this money.
I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit
this money and my husband relatives are bourgeois and they have know
feelings for human talk less of having the fear of God, I do not want my
husband's hard earned money to be misused or invested into ill perceived
ventures. 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 I know where I am going. I know that I am going to
be with the Almighty when I eventually pass on. The Almighty will fight my
case and I shall hold my peace. I do not need any telephone communication
in this regard due to my deteriorating health and because of the presence
of my husband's relatives around me. 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
Financial Firm in Europe. I will also issue you a Letter of Authority
that will empower you as the original beneficiary of this fund. My
happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation. Please always be
prayerful all through your life.Please assure me that you will act
just as I have stated herein. Hope to hear from you soon and God bless
you and members of your family.
Please kindly reach me on this my private email address:
Thank you and God bless your entire family.
Lady. Sandra Cole.