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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Tammy Armstrong" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 12:29:49 -0500
Subject: Esteem Greeting
I write to you in good faith and hoping that you will understand the
importance of my email. My decision to contact you is because I have been
recently diagnosed with Cancer and the doctor said I have less than 6
weeks to live. Since this sudden news was announced to me, I have been
reflecting over my life in the past. It is painful that after over 24
years of peaceful marriage with my late husband, we had no child of our
own that will inherit our numerous wealth.
In the past, I have made reasonable donations to the victims of Earthquake
in Haiti and recently to the same victims in Japan and Thailand. Now that
my health is gradually deteriorating, I cannot continue to do all these by
myself any more. I strongly desire to reach out to the poor and needy
people, but I would prefer to continue this with the assistance of a kind
I want you to answer the following questions, (1) are you a God fearing
person? (2) If I donate (15.5)Fifteen Million five Hundred Thousand United
States Dollars to you, can you be able to utilize it wisely to achieve my
heart desire of supporting poor people around you? (3)Will you open a
charity foundation in the name of my husband and 1? Please reply me as
soon as possible.
Mrs Tammy Armstrong.