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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand american 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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Kathleen Gilmore" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2013 01:33:39 +0100
Subject: Waiting For Your Response.
>From Kathleen Gilmore.
It is good writing you today although we haven't known nor met each other before. It is true that this letter may come to you as a surprise. Nevertheless, I humbly ask you to give me the benefit of doubt and hear me out.
My name is Kathleen Gilmore from Solomon Islands. I am married to Mr. Tyler Dave Gilmore who worked with our Embassy in Accra Ghana West Africa for a period of 9 years before he died. We were married for 12 years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. Since his death I decided not to marry again due to my religious belief. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$ 6.5 millions (six million five hundred thousand American dollars) with a Bank in Accra Ghana. Presently this money is still in the custody of the Bank in Ghana. Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next Eight months due to cancer illness.
Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to a church, organization or good person that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want a church, organization or good person that will use this funds to help the orphans, widows and other people that need financial assistance. Using part of this money to build companies and establish businesses that will create job opportunities for the jobless population. l took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money. Moreover, my husband relatives are pagans and it had been their wish to see my husband dead in order to inherit his wealth since we have no son. These people are therefore not worthy of this inheritance. This is why I am taking this decision.
I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my ill-health since the presence of my husband's relatives are around me always. I don't want them to know about this development for security reasons. As soon as I receive your reply I will give you the contact of the Bank in Accra Ghana where this fund is deposited. I will also issue a letter of authorization to the bank that will prove you the present beneficiary of this money. I also want you to always uplift me in prayer.
Any delay in your reply may give me room to search for another good person for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Hoping to receive your response soonest.
Thanks and Remain blessed .