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:
- "million 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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2013 05:56:47 +0530
Subject: Greetings to you
Dear beloved friend,
Greetings in the name of God, please let this not sound strange to you; permit me to inform you of my heart desire,
my name is Mrs.Garda Farzana ,am 69 years old woman suffering from cancer alimentation, I was married to my late husband Mr.Fatima Farzana who was a gold merchant in Libya for twenty-one years and we are with our adopted child, my husband died in a fatal mining accident along with our adopted son in February 17th 2011 and since his death I decided not to re-marry.
When I was diagnosed with cancer in September 2011,I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited the sum of 12.2 Million Dollars with Security company,(Twelve Million, two Hundred Thousand Dollars),I want an investor that will assist me to invest this fund on my son's name, Presently, this money is still with the security company (Name withheld), Recently my Doctor told me that I have limited days to live on earth, due to the cancerous problem which has cause me, ability to talk.
Though what boarded me most is the Paralysis of both legs that I have, in addition to the cancer. With this hard reality that has befallen on me, I have decided to donate this fund to you and i want you to use this fund to help charity organizations, orphanages, churches, mosques, widows, motherless babyâs home, Schools, supporting destitute aged men and women or whatever you may have in mind that will be to the benefit of the less fortunate.
I will give you more details and my sick pictures upon receipt of your response but if you are not interested please pardon me.