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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Rose Sankoh" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2013 08:15:19 -0500
Subject: dear beloved
I had to contact you after praying over my situation. I have been recently diagnosed of complicated case of Cancer of the Breast and Diabetes which has affected my hearing and to an extent my speech.
I am Rose Sankoh (Mrs), 58, widow to Mr. Edward Sankoh, former Defense attached to Benin Embassy in fiji. My husband died in a plane crash in Dec., 2003 with our only son named Elvis:
Due to my strong religious background I decided not to re-marry after his death, Before his death he made a vow to use his wealth 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 these money $28.300, 000.00 Million USD 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, in case any thing happens to me tomorrow as well, what I require 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. Write me via my personal email address... email@example.com
God bless you and your family,
Mrs. Rose Sankoh.