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 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Angela Benjamin" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 14:39:45 -0700
Subject: Can you receive and manage this fund ?
I am Mrs Angela Benjamin , age 71 wife of Late Mr George Morris Benjamin we are both British Citizen. My husband worked as Senior Manager with an Oil Company for Twenty Eight years before he died in the year 2005. We were married for Thirty Five years without a child.
My Husband died after a brief illness that lasted only four days. Before his death we were both born again Christians and after his death I decided not to re-marry. Before my husband died, he had a cash Investment of 15 Million United Dollars (Fifteen Million United State Dollars) which he made me the Beneficiary.Presently I am in Malaysia where I am undergoing treatment for breast cancer and cancer of the blood. I have since lost my ability to move around and my doctors have told me that I have only a few weeks to live as my condition worsen each day.
Before my husband died, it was his last wish to ensure that this money be distributed to charity across World it is for this reason I humbly request you to help me Stand and receive this payment of 15 Million United States Dollars in which I have decided to give you 5 Million United States Dollars for your effort and any expenses you may incurred when receiving this payment while the balance 10 Million United Dollars should be distributed for Charity to take care of orphanages, widows, disaster Victims . I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband made me the sole beneficiary of this payment because he is the only child of his parent.
The doctor will not allow me to talk to anybody but I have a lawyer who knows my family for over 20 years and has always come to see me and also pray for me, I have entrusted him with vital information which you will require in order to receiving this payment. I will give you the lawyer name email address and telephone number immediately after you reply to this mail. I want you to make time out of your very busy schedule and see to the success of receiving this payment within the shortest period of time because the directors of the investment company where the fund is logged may use the fund for their selfish purpose in case anything happen to me. I also want you to reply this mail as soon as possible, please remember to indicate
(1) Your Full Name,
(2) Your Contact Address
(3) Your Telephone (Cell Phone, Home Phone and Fax Number)
(4) Your Age and What You Do for a Living.
I hope to hear from you soonest. Please reply to : firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you and God Bless you.
Mrs Angela Benjamin