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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "trunk box" (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)
- "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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Josephine Briggs <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2012 18:16:52 +0300 (EEST)
Subject: Hello Dear
Dear beloved friend,
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I came across your email contact from my personal search that's why i email you and I believe that you will be honest to fulfill my final wish before I will die.
I am Mrs.Josephine Briggs from United State of America, I am 58 years old, I am suffering from a long time cancer of the breast, which also affected my brain. From all indication my condition is really deteriorating, and my doctors have courageously advised me that I may not live beyond the next two months, this is because the cancer stage has reached a critical stage.
I was brought up in a motherless baby's home, and was married to my late husband for twenty nine years without a child. My husband and I are true Christians, but quite unfortunately, he died in a fatal motor accident. Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of $3.2 million dollars with a finance security company.Presently, this money is still in their custody, and the management just wrote me as the Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive the trunk box after keeping it for so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over as a result of my illness. Presently, I'm in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment,please the finance security company does not know that the box deposited box contains money.I deposited the trunk box as my family valuables,so is only you and I knows what is inside the box is money.
I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live.It is my last wish to see that this money is invested in any organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the motherless babys home where I come from.
I want your good humanitarian, to also use this money to fund churches, orphanages and widows around. I must let you know that this was a very hard decision, but I had to take a bold step towards this issue because I have no further option. I hope you will help see my last wishes come true.My dear I know that you will say why me after reading this message but I want you to understanding that contacting you in this donation fund is not by my power as you can see that none of us have see each other before, rather contacting you is a divine direction from God that knows the heart of all human beings that he created.
Dear I want you to know that the blessing of God does not count on religions rather on your faithfulness to his commandments and I don't want you to bring apply fears in this call
from God because when fear controls your life,it will reduce the ability of God in you.
God said,I will strengthen and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).Fear not because our good God is on your side and will provide every material things for you in this service,
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you more information on this if you can assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Hope to hear from you soonest.this is my private email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Awaiting your reply
Yours in Christ,