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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Galina Paul" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2013 22:39:15 -0700
Subject: urgent reply needed
My name is Galina, I am a dying woman who have decided to donate what I have to you/ church. I am 63 years old and I was diagnosed for cancer for about 9 years ago, immediately after the death of my husband, who has left me everything he worked for.
I have been touched by God to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband to you for the good work of God, rather than allow my relatives to use my husband hard earned funds ungodly.
Please pray, that the good Lord forgive me my sins. I have asked God to forgive me and believe he has because He is a merciful God. I will be going in for an operation in less than one hour.
I decided to WILL/donate the sum of &5,700,000 (Five million seven hundred thousand dollars) to you for the good work of the lord, and also to help the motherless and less privilege and also for the assistance of the widows. At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls right now due to the fact that my relatives are around me and my health status.
I have adjusted my WILL and my lawyer is aware I have changed my will you and he will arrange the transfer of the funds from my account to you. I wish you all the best and may the good Lord bless you abundantly, and please use the funds well and always extend the good work to
Contact my lawyer with this specified email:
( firstname.lastname@example.org ) and tell him that I have WILLED. I know I dont know you but I have been directed to do this. Thanks and God bless.
please send the following information as underlined below: