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:
- "dear beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million pounds" (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)
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Faith Shumejda." (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2012 12:01:27 +0100
Subject: PLEASE YOUR HELP IS NEEDED NOW.
Please accept my sincere apologizes if my email does not meet your business
or personal ethics. I am Mrs.Faith Shumejda, I am 65 years old, a widow
to late Mr.John Shumejda who was the President of agricultural equipment
giant AGCO Corp, who perished on the 4th of January 2002 in a plane crash
Please View the Website below:
After going through some files of my late husband, I discovered a Deposit
Certificate of (Fifteen Million Pounds) with a Bank in Europe. But due my
sickness, I have not been able to claim this fund from the Bank, as I have
been in the hospital ,I am suffering from a protracted cancer of the lungs.
I am contacting you based on trust to present you to the Bank as the Next
of Kin and Bonafide Inheritor to my Late Husband's fund, since I cannot
claim this fund myself now and I may not live beyond next six-eight months
according to my Doctors, but I have the faith in God that I will live more
than the months my Doctors said by God grace.
Presently, I'm with my laptop in the hospital where I have been undergoing
treatment in Liverpool.
Please! Please!! Your help is needed to avoid this money been diverted to
the Government of UK as unclaimed fund/dormant account. Imagine somebody
who had no child, I have nobody taking care of me here in the Hospital, and
the money I have now is limited. Of which, that £15 Million is my only hope
to continue my treatment here in the Hospital, and hopefully by God grace I
If you will so kind to be of help, You are entitled to 40% of the total
money 20% for charities and 40% for me and my family lawyer.
This email address(email@example.com) enable me validate you as the
legal beneficiary of this funds:
1. Your full names
2. Mobile phone number
5. Marital status
6. Company's name & address
7. Name of your next of kin.
This information will help my lawyer enable you beneficiary to this funds.
Your assistant will be highly appreciated.
Thanks and God bless.