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. )
- "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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "i got your email address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Stephen Brown" <email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 20 May 2013 02:25:50 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Your Urgent Attention Is Needed!!!
Let me first of all inform you,
I got your email address from a mail Directory and decided to mail you for
a permission to go ahead.I am Mrs. Rose Brown from Holland. I am married
to Dr. Das Brown who worked with a construction company in Asia for twenty
Years before he died in the tsunami disasters, we were married but without
Since his death I decided not to re-marry and presently I am 52. When my
late husband was Alive he deposited the sum of $3 million dollars (Three
Million Dollars) with a Security Company in Conjunction with JP Morgan
Chase USA. Presently this money is still with the Security Company and the
management just Wrote me as the beneficiary to come forward to receive the
money or rather Issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it
on my behalf if I cannot come over.
I am presently in a Havana hospital where I have been undergoing treatment
Cancer of the lungs in a hospital, I have since lost my ability to talk
and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to Live.
I want a person that is trustworthy that will utilize 70% of this money to
fund churches, orphanages and widows around the world but in my name "Mrs.
Rose Brown I am afraid since so many things are happening in the world
now, Like: Hurricanes, Earthquakes and these bird flu problem, I just want
you to be opened minded and help me so that my funds can make a grate
change in the affected peoples lives.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the
Security Company. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will
prove you as the new beneficiary of this fund.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein and Keep
this contact confidential till such a time this funds get to your Custody,
this is to ensure that nothing jeopardizes my last wish on Earth.Please
kindly reply back to my private email, [ firstname.lastname@example.org ] I
await your urgent reply.
Mrs. Stephen Brown