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 pounds" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "calvary greetings" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Stephanie Joseph <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Mrs Stephanie Joseph <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2014 20:43:37 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Dear Child of God,
Dear Child of God,
Calvary Greetings in the name of the LORD Almighty and Our LORD JESUS CHRIST the giver of Life and every good things.
Good day and compliments of the seasons, i know this letter will definitely come to you as a huge surprise, but I implore you to take time and go through it carefully as the decision you make will go a long way to determine my happiness after life,
I am Mrs. Stephanie Joseph from Switzerland I am married to Late Mr. Adams Joseph who is a wealthy business man here in London, UK. We were married for 14 years without a child before he died after a brief illness
Before his sudden death we where devoted christian When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of Three Million Pounds ($B!r(B3,000,000.00) in one of the prime bank here in London. Presently this money is still with the Bank,
I am very sick from kidney cancer and fibroid that i may not last till the next two months according to my doctor so i decided to donate this money to a honest individual who will use it to work for God, orphans, widow and maintenance of church,
and i have chosen you after praying.
I want this money to be use as i have said since i do not have any child to inherit it our relatives are all unbelievers and i don't want our hard earn money to be used in ungodly way so you will take 15% of the fund for your effort and use the remaining as i stated,
the reason for taking this bold decision. I know that after death I will be with God the most holy and the most merciful. In-short,If you are really willing and interested to help me out, Kindly reply me back right now For more information. As soon as i read from you i will give you more details on how to achieve it,
i need your urgent response as i don't know what tomorrow will result,Please email me.
Your Sister in Christ,
Mrs. Stephanie Joseph.