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:
- "million united state 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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mary David <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Mary David <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2014 00:50:49 +0900 (JST)
Subject: My Dearest in the Lord,
My Dearest in the Lord,
Greetings in the name of our lord Jesus Christ. I am Mrs. Mary David from
Ireland, a widow to late Dr. Mark David. I am now a new Christian convert,
suffering from long time cancer of the breast, from all indication my
conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that I wonât live
more than 3 months, according to my doctors.
This is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage. My late
husband died last six years, and during the period of our marriage we could not
produce any child. My late husband was very wealthy and after his death, I
inherited all his business and wealth. the doctors has advised me that I may
not live for more than 3 months, so I now decided to divide the part of this
wealth, to contribute to the development of the church in America , Asia, and
I selected you after visiting the website and I prayed over it. I am willing to
donate the sum of $1.8 Million united state dollars, to the less privileged.
Please I want you to note that this fund is deposit in one of the international
bank here. Once I hear from you, I will forwarded to you all the information
you will use to get this fund released from the bank and to be transferred to
I await your urgent reply.
Your sister in Christ,
Mrs. Mary David.