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)
- "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, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Rev. William Keith Ellison" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 11:49:11 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Dear beloved one in christ,
Dear beloved one in christ,
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I came across your email contact from my personal search and I instructed the doctor here in these hospital to help me email you and I believe that you will be honest to fulfill my final wish before I will die.
I am Rev. William Keith Ellison from Alabama United State of America, I am 69 years old, I am deaf,dumb and currently suffering from a long time cancer of the heart. From all indication my condition is really deteriorating, and my doctor have advised that I may not live beyond the next two months. The cancer stage has reached a ritical stage. I was brought up in a motherless home, and was married to my late wife for twenty years without a child.
My wife and I are true Christian's,we lived all day in Canada, since he was working here as a contractor, but quite unfortunately,he died in a fatal motor accident.Since his death I decided not to re-marry and because of my bad stage of health,I sold all my inherited belongings to me and my late husband and deposited all the total sum of $25.8million dollars and jewelries Diamonds and Golds with the Barclays Bank Canada.
Presently, this money is still in the BANK, and the management of the Barclays Bank (Canada) and the informed me as the Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive the money 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 lness, or the fund will be confiscated. Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment. 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 these my hard earn money is invested in any organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charities organization, the poor and the motherless baby's home where I come from.I want your good humanitarian,to also use these money to fund churches, orphanages and widows around yourenvironmnets.
I must let you know that these was a very hard decision, but I had to take a bold step towards these issue because I have no further option, I hope you will help see my last wishes come true. Please my dear beloved in Christ, i await your reply. Either muslim or Christian, we are worshiping the same Almighty God in.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Bank in Canada. And i will also issue a letter of authority to the Bank, which will prove that you are the new beneficiary of my fund. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
God bless you, as I await your reply.
Yours sincerly sister in Christ,
Rev. William Keith Ellison