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)
- "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)
- "god fearing " (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:
From: "Mrs. Violet Williams" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2014 23:34:33 +0100
Subject: Dear Friend
Greetings in the name of God, Please let this not sound strange to you for my only surviving lawyer who would have done this died early this year prayed and got your email id from your country's Christian guest book which I have been with my late husband and liked to visit once more if God will in his infinite mercies.
I am Mrs. Violet Williams from UK I am 58 years old am suffering from a long time cancer of the lungs which also affected my brain, from all indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that, according to my doctors they have advised me that I may not live for the next two months, this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage. I was brought up from a motherless babies home was married to my late husband for twenty years without a child, my husband died in fatal motor accident Before his death we were true Christians. Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of ($6.5 Million Dollars) with Unicaja Bank.
Presently, this money is still with them and the management just wrote me as the true owner to come forward to receive the money for keeping it so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I cannot come over because of my illness or they get it confiscated.
Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital in Switzerland where I have been undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. My doctors have told me that I have only a few months to live. It is my last wish to see that this money is invested to any organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the motherless baby's home.
I want you as God fearing person, to also use this money to fund churches, orphanages and widows; I took this decision, before I rest in peace because my time will soon be up.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Unicaja Bank in the UK. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you as the new beneficiary of my fund. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
You are requested to send to me the following information to enable me use it to write a Letter of Authorization on your behalf to the bank so that they will release the money to you as my new next of beneficiary.
(1)Your full names#: ===================================
(2) Personal or official contact address#: ===============================
(3) Home or Office phone#:============Cell phone#:==========Fax#:=======
(4) Your Age#: ===============
(6)Sex/Marital status#: ========================
Please reply me through this my private E-mail address: email@example.com
Hoping to hear from you soon.
Waiting for your reply
Mrs. Violet Williams.