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:
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Ruth Benson <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 19 May 2013 03:09:08 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Donation From Mrs. Ruth Benson, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Endeavor to use the Fund as i stated herein!
With Due Respect And Humility, I was compelled to write you under a humanitarian ground. I am Mrs Ruth Benson from Kuwait. I am married to Late Mr. Jean Benson who was until his death a competent business man here in Ivory Coast, for nine good years before he died. We were married for many years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only Eight days.
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $(4.8 Million) USD Four Million Eight Hundred Dollar as a Family Valuables in a Finance Security Company here in Abidjan, Ivory Coast capital. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to a church or a God fearing person that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want a Church, NGOs, Government Organizations, Farmers or a God fearing Person that will use this fund for orphanages, hospitals, schools, widows, Lessprevilages, propagating the word of God and to endeavour that the house of God is maintained.
I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly way. This is why I am taking this decision. When this fund has transfer to your country i will join you there for proper medical treatment.
As soon as I receive your reply in acceptance of working with me in the kingdom of God, I shall give you the contact of the Finance Security Company here in Abidjan Ivory Coast. I want you and the church to always pray for me because the lord is my shepherd. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. Whoever that wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and Truth.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I have Stated herein. Expecting to receive your re-assuring reply.
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Your's Sister In Christ,
Mrs. Ruth Benson.