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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Bessie Ward" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 21:20:44 -0700
Subject: Hi Dear..
You might not know the sender of this mail. I got your E-mail when searching files on
trusted people online. Let me start by introducing myself.I am Mrs Bessie Ward .I am
married to Late Engineer Harry Ward.When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum
of $4.6m(Four Million, Six Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) which were derived
from his landed properties and investment in capital market with a bank. Presently,this
money is still with the bank.My Doctor told me that I have few months to live due to
the cancerous problems I am suffering from.
I have decided to WILL OUT this fund to you and want you to use this gift which comes
from my late husbands effort to fund the up keep of widows, widowers,orphans,destitute,
the down-trodden, physically challenged children, barren-women and persons who prove to
be genuinely handicapped financially or physically.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank in Europe. I
will also issue you my last WILL and testament and provide you the certificate of
deposit that will empower you as the original beneficiary of this fund.
My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation. Please always be prayerful all
through your life.Please assure me that you will act just as I have instructed herein.
Mrs Bessie Ward.