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:
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Julien Kowan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2013 20:10:02 +0100 (BST)
Greetings to you and your family in the name of God,in my search for a reliable and God fearing person and having gotten your contact through prayers and pains taking efforts via searching I made on the internet on my bed side. Presently, I'm in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for Oesophagi Cancer.
Though its a sad and long story but I will cut it short for your quick and easy understanding. I am Julien Kowan(Mrs), widow to Late Mr.Iwuagwu Kowan, former Defence attachee to Greece Embassy in Cote D'Ivoire. My husband was murdered alonside our only son Elvis by those who are envious of his position in the same office.
Before his death he made a vow to use his wealth ($3.5m) for the down trodden,orphanages and the less privileged in the society. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to an individual or better still a God fearing person who will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct here in. I want an individual that will use this fund and provide succor to poor and indigent persons, orphanages, and widows and for the propagating peace.
I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not inclined to helping poor persons and I do not want my husband's hard earned money to be misused or spent in the manner in which my late husband did not specify. I do not want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner.
What is required of you is your honesty, trust and sincerity. Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing for another individual for this same purpose.
May God Almighty bless you.
Your Sister in Christ Jesus,
Mrs Julien Kowan