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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Dian Amassey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 21:54:39 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Dearest In Christ,
Dearest In Christ,
Here writes Mrs. Dian Amassey suffering from cancerous ailment. I am married to Mr. Kevin Amassey. My husband was into private practice all his life before his death. Our life together as man and wife lasted for three decades without a child. My husband died after a protracted illness.
My husband and I made a vow to uplift the down-trodden and the less-privileged individuals as he had passion for persons who cannot 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 five Million dollars which were derived from his vast estates and investment in capital market with a security company here in Ivory Coast. He deposited it as family valuable items such as gold, diamond and sliver.
The security company does not know the content to be money you and me only knows the real content to be money. My Doctor told me that I have limited days to live due to the cancerous problems I am suffering from. Though what bothers me most is the stroke that I have in addition to the cancer. With this hard reality that has befallen my family.
I have decided to donate this fund to you and want you to use this gift which comes from my husbandâs effort to fund the upkeep of widows, widowers, orphans, destitute, the down-trodden, physically challenged children, barren-women and persons who prove to be genuinely handicapped financially.
It is often said that blessed is the hand that gives. I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband's relatives are bourgeois and very wealthy persons and 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 security company here in Ivory coast. I will also issue you a Letter of Authority that will empower you as the original beneficiary of the consignment. 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.
Yours Faithfully in Christ,