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.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: bonnie wagner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:48:08 -0700
Subject: My Last Wish
>From Mrs. Bonnie Wagner Sue3 Country Manor CTSt Peters MO 63376Missouri
Dearly Beloved, Compliments of the day to you! I am happy to know you but God knows you better and he knows why he has directed me to you at this point in time so do not be afraid. I am writing this mail to you with heavy tears in my eyes and great sorrow in my heart, I want to tell you this because I don't have any other option than to tell you as I was touched to open up to you.
However, I'm 60 years old & suffering from a long time cancer of the breast and from all indication my conditions is really deteriorating and my doctors have courageously advised me that I may not live beyond the next two months because the cancer stage has reached a Critical stage which I believe, you might be of help and for this reason I contacted you.
I was brought up in a motherless baby's home and was married to my late husband Hubert for twenty years without a child. He worked with Shell Oil Company for thirty years before his dead. He was a philanthropist and since his death, I decided not to remarry because of my health. Before this Incident, he deposited $5.6Million with a British bank. This money is still in the bank and the management of the bank just wrote me as the legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive the fund after leaving it for so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to someone on my behalf since I am terminally ill. Otherwise, they will refer the fund to the state treasury.
I'm now in a hospital where I am undergoing treatment and my last wish is to make sure this fund is available for use in any charity organization of your choice, thus, you will take 30% of it for yourself and family, 70% to build a foundation of orphanage in memory of my late husband.
I took this decision to enable me die in peace and please assure me you will act on humanitarian motivesYours SincerelyBonnie WagnerReply Email: email@example.com